Why is it important to self-reflect? Does our past really effect our future? Dr. Markman (2011) believes that it is important to recognize that the only way you can plan for the future is by drawing on your memories of the past (Markman, 2011, para. 10).
What Dr. Markman says seems especially true for professionals in Education. If you start off teaching reading and develop a true passion for it, you may become a reading specialist. Educators spend the beginning of their careers in the classroom and that helps them decide if they want to move into a counselor position, administration, or as a coach or specialist. Those initial years are vital to shaping an educator's future.
I spent my first five years in education teaching 3rd grade language arts and social studies. I loved the age and the curriculum. I enjoyed making stations for the "Daily Five" and teaching my sweet 8 year old students new vocabulary words and strategies. I love this age because they are old enough to wipe their own noses and catch your sarcasm and jokes, but young enough to still love you and want to make you happy. I learned a lot about myself as an educator during this time, that I have a passion for creating and designing curriculum and I also realized that I won't be one of those teachers who can spend their entire career in the same grade. As my fifth year came to an end, I knew it was time for a change and I knew moving forward I wanted to teaching older kids, preferably social studies and I wanted to learn more about educational technology.
My 6th year in education I taught 6th grade World Cultures. I was the
only one with a class set of Chromebooks and boy did I learn a lot that year. I took my curriculum and totally recreated it from scratch. I turned it hands-on, interactive and digital. This is the year I discovered my passion for educational technologies and I knew that is what I wanted to do moving forward in my career. I began to create and do some pretty cool stuff in my classroom like setting up a Google hangout experience with a blogger located in Paris. My students didn't know where she was and had to ask her a varied set of questions to figure out where she was. When she turned and showed them the Eiffel tower and seeing the excitement and wonder on my student's faces, that was my "ah-ha" moment. Seeing first hand how engaging technology could be when implemented correctly and how it can transform student learning had me hooked and hungry for more. I brought in virtual reality so my kids could experience the Eiffel tower first hand. I began to bring in more new technology and having my students create websites and digital creations, which began to catch the attention of my fellow educators and administration. Soon teachers were coming to me for help integrating technology in their classrooms and my administrators approached me about a new opportunity coming that next year, the role of Innovative Learning Specialist.
I am currently the Innovative Learning Specialist at the very school I taught
6th grade World Cultures at. I am located in the Library and the first thing I was tasked with by my administration was to change the library. I spent a lot of time researching makerspaces and discovered that a makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials (Rendina, 2015) and began to transform my library into an interactive area that students can collaborate and explore in. I love where I am right now and what I am doing. I am able to research the "latest and the greatest" in educational technology and share what I learn with my teachers. I am over all the technology for my campus, which includes inventory and purchasing. I enjoy training teachers, or as we call it "Teel's Techno Tidbits" and get a thrill out of converting an anti-tech teacher into a full believer!
According to Dr. Markman (2011) we use our ability to envision the future to help us make plans. Our beliefs about what might happen in the future help us to plan for obstacles that will confront us (Markman, 2011, para. 8).
When I think about my future I see myself doing what I am currently doing, but on a grander scale, working with all the educators in a district instead of just at one school.
Markman, A. (2011). Your View of the Future Is Shaped by the Past. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201108/your-view-the-future-is-shaped-the-past
Rendina, D. (2015). Defining Makerspaces: What the Research Says. Renovated Learning. Retrieved from http://renovatedlearning.com/2015/04/02/defining-makerspaces-part-1/