It’s a little crazy to think about how much can change in just 18 months. 18 months ago, I was in my third year of teaching as an Early Childhood/Middle School photography teacher. I was brand new and excited to be teaching. While I was still somewhat new to the school and to teaching, I knew that I wanted to be more than a teacher.
I wanted to be a leader.
Now, 18 months later, I’m wrapping up the last course of my graduate studies through Lamar University and getting ready to walk across the stage at graduation! In this short amount of time, I’ve made some great connections with other educators across the country and have learned so much about what it means to be a great educator, however, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now without the help and encouragement of my school administration. It was through a discussion on personal and professional goals with my Headmaster and Head of EC/Lower School, that I mentioned that I was thinking about going back to school. I received some great feedback and suggestions from both of them, and had they not pointed me in the right direction, I don’t think I would have gone to grad school as soon as I did, and I’m not entirely sure I would have discovered Lamar University and/or the DLL program. It’s funny how life plays out.
Throughout the 18 month long journey of the Digital Learning and Leading program, I’ve had some pretty great learning experiences. While the non traditional COVA approach to learning took a little bit of an adjustment for me, I realize that this is also what empowered me as a learner and educator. Sure, in the beginning that was a little bit of frustration because I wanted my assignments to have yes or no answers. Either I got it right or wrong, but there wasn’t any of that. While teaching and learning based on the COVA model is hard, it’s really an adjustment that needs to be made. I can see where many schools are not yet ready to embrace COVA- it’s too risky, giving up the control.
We just need to continue to find ways to be facilitators of learning and not dictators.
When I stop and think of the accomplishments I’ve made in the program, I realize that the results are too great. What this program has done for me goes further than the accomplishments. Aside from the amounts of work and late hours, I’ve gained even more confidence in myself as an educator and as a leader. The assignments have definitely been worthwhile and have helped push me into more of a leadership role in my school. My innovation plan, which has taken up most of my focus during this program hasn’t gone unnoticed by my administration- in fact, they want to see and hear more and have given me opportunities to show what I have learned and try it with my students. That in itself is a big accomplishment for me. I know that it’s not that easy for many in this country, and that for many teachers, their voices and proposals go unheard or are given very little thought. For many in the public school system, there are countless hoops to go through to initiate change. I realize how difficult it can be, and I’m grateful to be at a school that listens to it’s teachers and allows them to try new approaches and ideas.
Another “tangible” accomplishment that I am proud is this ePortfolio. Looking back at a year and half’s worth of work all housed in my ePortfolio is pretty amazing to reflect back on. I had fun giving my ePortfolio a little bit of personality and making it my own, and I also love being able to refer my site to colleagues and other administrators in my organization. The work speaks for itself.
Take a moment and Sway with me. Check out the visual presentation below to see what this experience has been like for me. If you want to further your professional teaching career and are thinking about entering into an online Masters program, look into Lamar University. This program has taken me to places that weren’t even on my radar 18 months ago.