Friday, March 11, 2016

Imagine...making an impact

I still remember, clearly, answering a phone call from Melanie Honeycutt in my kindergarten classroom back in September of 2012.  I remember crying as I happily accepted a job as an Instructional Technology Facilitator under her leadership.  I was crying because I was overwhelmed with joy at the chance to take on a role that I so excited to have.  Three weeks later I was in tears again, as I had packed up the last of my personal belongings and was ready to say goodbye my classroom and my students.  Tears, streaming down, as evidence of my fear of no longer making a meaningful impact on students.  Never being about to talk about "my kids." because I gave them up.

Flash forward to NCTIES 2016 and the keynote speakers Brad Waid and Drew Minock share that relationships with our students are key, and that one may never know what we as teachers could do to help a student find his or her voice. 

I gladly accepted the role as an ITF to share my passion of educational technology with teachers, and their students.  A teammate of mine, Kristin Edwards, and I created our PD Challenge to offer opportunities for choice in professional development for our teachers.  This was important to me, as I often struggled with being required to attend PD sessions that just weren't for me, but spent hours at home learning about things via Twitter with no "credit."  The PD Challenge is helping to make an impact on numerous teachers and students across our district.  This past week Kristin and I had the opportunity to share our PD Challenge at NCTIES with educators from around the state.  It was a fabulous experience, one that I am extremely grateful for.  The workshop session allowed us to share our experience, and take part in conversations, learn from our peers, and just learn! It was seriously the best, and afterwards, I felt accomplished, like what we had done was making a difference, and impact.

In this position, I don't always have the chance to work closely with students on a consistent basis.  I work at three middle schools, and I try to keep my schedule fairly predictable, but that doesn't always work out.  For that reason I go without feedback from students, other than a smile or quick hello, so I don't know if I'm making an impact.  

Well, the Student Showcase provided some great feedback for me.  I worked with a small group of students for 2 months prior to NCTIES, and while our sessions were filled with hilarity and green screens, I didn't realize how much the students really enjoyed themselves.  These students shared at a faculty meeting prior to NCTIES and at the conclusion of their presentation, they brought out flowers...for me!? They had planned a party with pizza, drinks, and chips to celebrate their accomplishments.  Their excitement for NCTIES was incredible.  

They loved every second of NCTIES, and spent the entire day at the conference. The connected with Kevin Honeycutt and took selfies with him. They also came to a session after the Student Showcase and shared their experience with Google Classroom with those in attendance. It was a full day for these students, sharing their expertise and feeling proud of themselves.

I got this message from a parent on Thursday evening, and it finally clicked with me. I'm making an impact, even though it may seem invisible, it's not.  It's meaningful.

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