Can I say just how much I love this topic? Finding your swagger.
Swagger is otherwise known as confidence. However, I like the term "swagger" better as it depicts a confident stride. Your confidence in action.
In 2006, I started with my first classroom of my own. I was nervous, excited, and young - very young. I had only just turned 21 and I was teaching 17 and 18 year-olds. My confidence or swagger was not fully there yet. But, that first fall, I took a chance. I had my students write "where I'm from" poems, go through the peer-review and editing process. Then, they transformed those poems into movies. After spending a week making movies, we held a movie showcase. The result: awesomeness. In fact, some of the students took the lesson with them and taught it to third graders.
It was that moment I felt my swagger starting to emerge. I knew then that I liked being a creative teacher. I liked taking risks. From that moment on, I tried a variety of new approaches in the classroom ranging from electronic portfolios and documentaries to podcasts. After five years, I had begun to swagger in the edtech arena. I knew I loved being creative with technology. I wanted to teach literacy as a whole - not just the writing and reading aspect - but the whole range.
So, I took a risk and left the classroom. I knew I wanted to help teach teachers and work with students in the tech literacy front, but, at the time, the only job nearby was a tech director position. And, without looking back, I took the position. It was not the best two years of my life, but they gave me my swagger. I was forced to learn immediately on the job. I mastered networking. I ran cables through the ceiling. I installed projectors. I did all tech repair, maintenance, instruction, and management. My background: a passionate educator. Because of being thrown in, I learned and I learned fast. I gained confidence in my skills.
After two years, I found a job with less fixing and more instruction - Round Rock ISD. Because of my tech background, I came in full-force, ready to make changes. In fact, I took so many risks that first year, I can't count them all. I was a risk-nut. But, after that first year, I took the largest risk: I helped start the RRISD Google Ninja Academy, a one-day conference of over 500 educators from around the state of Texas. I realized, then, that I loved providing opportunities for teachers. I feel confident training. In fact, I thrive on it. I love taking risks. I am passionate about providing learning opportunities. I learned this from my teachers and through the risks I took.
Now, I find myself transitioning to a new role at a new school, my swagger in full stride, ready to take on a new challenge training and educating teachers and students.
Your swagger is your passion. What makes you confident? Where do you find pride? What do you love? These will lead you to your swagger.
Finding my swagger was a series of fortunate events. Each event led to a new notch in my swagger. The key: take risks. Don't be afraid. You will never fail.