Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Why I Love My Job, Part II
I just had three of the best days of my professional life! Here's a little recap of our first-ever ETSI.
We started on Monday morning asking you about what you were hoping to get out of ETSI, using an Answer Garden, and then we asked you to talk to someone at your table about what "technology integration" does and doesn't mean. Your first task was to examine one of four different models of technology integration, and then contribute information about your model to a Google presentation. I was expecting that you would take our plain, boring template and add a few bullet points in plain, boring text. What was I thinking? You far surpassed anything I could have come up with and blew that presentation out of the water! Although we had feared you might be a little disappointed to start with the theory instead of something a bit more "fun," you were great sports, and many of you said it really validated things you had already been thinking; we could tell that you were making some great connections. You really got into that Kahoot game, and we learned that teachers can be a competitive bunch!
After lunch on Monday, we heard from some of our wonderful principals about their vision for technology usage and educational technology leadership on their campuses. Matt Arend, Stacy Kimbriel, Sonja Pegram, and Bill McLaughlin had some great thoughts about where our district needs to be heading. We also got to hear from Matt Gomez, a consummate ed tech leader who I'm proud to call a colleague.
We gave you a little time to preview some of the 100+ apps & websites we suggested on our website because we knew it would be more than a little overwhelming to just toss you into that sea of tools on Tuesday. You needed a little time to digest what was there. After a quick wrap-up and an exit ticket activity, we sent you on your way.
Tuesday was a completely different type of day. You started the day choosing from a menu of nine classes, from Google Drive and Twitter to Flipping Your Classroom and Augmented Reality. I loved the classes that I got to teach, and I know that my co-workers felt the same way about theirs. After lunch, you dived right in to our Taste of Technology with the goal of creating something to enhance a lesson in your curriculum. We tried to keep the focus on the LEARNING and not on any one tech tool. You guys came up with some wonderful products!
Just when we thought you couldn't get any better, you BLEW US AWAY in our mini EdCamp this morning! You took over and facilitated the learning for your peers, and you made it look so easy. Sessions on Instagram, QR codes, Nearpod, and more seemed like they had taken hours to prepare even though we knew you were presenting mostly on the fly. AND we had EdCamp cake!
Throughout the three days, we watched as you developed new friendships and met new collaborators for your PLNs. Many of you were figuring out Twitter for the first time (and we are so proud of you for those first tweets!) There were times when you were thinking about something and we could practically see that light bulb come on - a home run moment in the life of any teacher.
Conservatively half of you came in this morning saying, "I couldn't sleep last night because I was so excited about what we're doing!" or "I kept having more ideas for how I could use these tools" or "How am I going to get my principal's buy-in on this great idea I want to try?" One of you brought us flowers. FLOWERS! And another of you said as you were leaving today, "I've never been to a Professional Development session before where people CRY when it's over!" But some people (including us) did! And many, many more of you said all manner of kind things about ETSI.
This event brought together so many elements that contribute to our job satisfaction. We loved picking out all the tools, deciding the best flow for the event, using as many different delivery methods as we could come up with, and applying principles of adult learning as we put everything together. The fact that everything worked so well, and that everyone seemed to like it so much, was extremely gratifying, I loved so MANY things about my job this week.
But when I think about what makes me love my job the MOST, it's not teaching the classes or designing the website or editing the brochures or coming up with a great schedule or helping people embrace Twitter. What makes me love my job the most is YOU, dear teachers. It's you. Of course it's you.