Thursday, August 7, 2014

Year 10 - My Year of Firsts

The first day of my 10th year of teaching was filled with overwhelming emotion. I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment because, let's be honest, this is the longest I have ever done any one thing in my life. 

This day was also filled with a great deal of responsibility. Our district is made up of many newer teachers that fill our district with life and enthusiasm.  As a 10th year teacher, I felt the responsibility to take on a strong leadership role and model a positive, student-centered classroom and love for my job. 

I also felt a great sense of responsibility because I had consistent access to technology that wasn't readily available to the rest of my district yet. 

This all aside, I went into my 10th year ready to go! 
I've made it!
I am a veteran! 
This is the year that I will have it all together!
This is the year that I will be organized! 
This is the year where I will keep my head, firmly, above the water.

(Insert uncontrollable belly laughter here.)

Silly me, I should have known that this would be the year that everything unravels... in a good way.

At that time, I did not know that this would probably be my most challenging, most time consuming but most enjoyable year ever.

You see, my 10th year was the year that the fog lifted. I was looking at my classroom, students, the learning process and my professional development with clear eyes. 

It was the first time I was able to understand what type of professional development I needed, seek it out and be totally engaged during the process.

It was the first time I opened myself and my classroom up to global connection and collaboration.

My 10th year turned out to be an amazing year filled with firsts.

Here is my Top 10 lists of firsts that guided me and came from my journey:

1. First year I couldn't wait to fill my free Saturdays with professional development like the Downers Grove and Chicago Playdates, iPad Academy and Edtech Teacher Summit.

2. First year of tech devises in my room.

3. First attempt at Genius Hour with 24 1st graders.

4. First year I connected myself and my students, globally, through Skype, Primary Blogging Program and Global Read Aloud.

5. First year that allowed me to bring my passion for blogging into the classroom with my students using Kidblog. 

6. First year I was actively trying to be a fly on the wall in my classroom. Student-Centered, Student-Driven.

7. First year I presented at a State-wide conference.

8. First year actively on twitter both professionally and in my classroom. @lbrightedu  and @mrsbrightmcdole

9. First year I truly identified my PLN, used them for support, traveled with them and loved them.

10. First year I absolutely felt I was on the right track educationally, philosophically and personally.

Year 10 was one of my hardest year but by far my most enjoyable.
Teaching will never get easier but if you embrace change and listen to your students, it becomes a lot of fun.

Year 11... Bring it on!

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