To indirectly quote Cory Matthews, from Boy Meets World, “if I had to dream of the perfect school year, it wouldn’t even come close to last year.” Last year, my first year of teaching was the best professional and personal year I have ever had. Being completely transparent, I didn’t want to be a teacher. My student teaching experience was dreadful, and to say that I second guessed my abilities as an educator would be an understatement. Up until my students walked into my room, I was sure I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher. Was the year perfect? Of course not. Did I make mistakes? More than I care to admit, or even count. However, as I reflect on last year and look into this year I am so fortunate for all of the learning opportunities I have had, and will continue to have. I am rooted next to some of the most amazing people to learn from and cannot wait to push myself beyond any limit that I have created for myself. With this reflection blog post, I hope to capture some of my end of the year accomplishments and reflect on new goals I’d like to achieve for this upcoming school year.
GEG Chicago Leadership Camp
In April, I was fortunate enough to be selected to join the Google for Education Leadership Camp. I joined together with 5 other incredible educators and coaches to develop the Innovation Incubator, a Google partnered organization that is going to take student and teacher collaboration to a whole other level. Through design thinking, students and teachers will join together throughout the year to establish a “community problem” and persevere throughout the year to solve that problem. It has already been immensely successful and I cannot wait to see how the remainder of the year unfolds.
iEngage Berwyn, April 30
In April of last year, my best friend at school and brilliant educator, Grace Kowalski, and I joined together to present at our district’s very own educational technology conference. Grace and I decided to model our presentation off of the incredible, “Hacking Education” book, and now series as piloted by Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez, (no relation to me, unfortunately). We presented on personalizing learning in your math classroom with a general focus on technology integration. We had a full room, with lots of engaged audience members who were full of great questions. Despite the fact that it was in our home district, it was so amazing to be able to present for the first time and it gave us the drive to want to present our findings elsewhere. We will be presenting together again on November 18 at the Illinois Educational Technology Conference in Springfield, IL. To register for the conference, you can follow this link.
On May 10, myself, along with two of my students headed down to the state capitol to present to our state legislature on the importance of technology in the classroom. My students reported on Personalizing Learning in a Global Community and how we “broke down the walls” of our math classroom. It was an incredible day where my kiddos got the chance to speak about the amazing things that they do in our classroom, day in and day out. It was such a special event, being able to walk into the state capitol and hear both of them represent our district so tremendously.
The incredible program, goFormative, is something that I utilize daily in my classroom. goFormative gives you the ability to see the answers and results of your students live on your device, which provides amazing potential for differentiation and flexible grouping. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work for them and run their social media part time. I love being able to explore and learn all about educational buzz words and learning from other educators around the world. It’s amazing how much I have grown already from this position.
Reflecting on this past year I genuinely can’t believe all that I learned and all that I was able to achieve. This year, I hope to push myself even further than I thought possible. I’m starting the year off with flexible seating to allow for more student voice and choice in my classroom. I already love everything about it and have experienced so much overall engagement in the classroom already.
I want to begin to utilize design thinking in the classroom, find new and innovative ways to improve my teaching practice, and continually learn as much as possible so that I can be the best educator I can be. I’m excited for all of the upcoming opportunities that I’ll be blessed with and hope that through hard work and dedication, that I grow and develop into a well-rounded educator.