Friday, March 11, 2016

#YourEduStory: Growing in a role

This week's topic: How have you been stretched this year in your role? How has this been a blessing?

In many ways, this year has been easy - too easy. And, the ease is what has stretched me. This year has been the most challenging for me - yet the the most easy - since my first year of teaching. And, I've spent a lot of time looking at the challenges. However, perhaps, it's time to look at the blessings. 

Over the past few years, I've coined myself a Google Ninja. I was an Edmodo rockstar. I was a flipped classroom superstar. The one thing in common - these are tools (with the exception of one). I was a tool expert. When I started my current role, I realized that did not mean anything to them. Since my job no longer entailed fixing things, being an expert in tools was not a badge of honor. Instead, I had to redefine myself.. 

I've become someone passionate about getting girls involved in STEAM/STEM and bring Maker Ed to the classrooms. This year, I've refined my focus. I've learned it's better to be passionate about one area than stretch myself in all areas. That's what my network is for - to rely on for support. 

I've tried many programs this year. I've held coffee chats, after school EdCamps, coding clubs, tech clubs, Maker Nights, Family Coding Nights and so much more, many of which were either poorly attended or not attended at all. This year has been a test of my resiliency. It's worn me down and it's built me up. 

I feel a different educator than I was a year ago. This year has stripped me of many things, but it's also refined my focus. For that, I am thankful. 

Last year, I was overwhelmed by being involved in too many things. This year, while I have tried a ton of things, I am not involved in a ton of things. Rather, I'm focusing on one larger objective: education. I've found my passion not in tools, but in bridging the gender gap in STEM through the maker movement. I've been able to spend time creating again. I've made quilts. I've painted. I've learned to play the Ukulele. I've taken baking classes. I've stretched myself creatively. 

And, I've remembered my base - my creativity. It's reminded me to bring creativity into what I do. And, I've found I can best to that through maker programs. 

This year has been a testament to my work ethic and to my determination. It's been challenging in ways I still cannot put into words. It's torn down what I thought I stood for. In it's place, though, it's refined me as an educator. It's allowed me to achieve balance again. It's given me time for creativity. 

Despite reminding myself of this year's challenges, I'm am thankful for the balance and creativity that have been restored. Without balance, we cannot persevere. We cannot make the impact we are capable of. 

What blessings have you found this year through your challenges?

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