What is your role at your school?
I currently teach fourth grade. Next year I will be moving to sixth grade where I will teach math and science.
What is the best part of your job?
My favorite part about my job is the connections I make. It’s been great getting to know the students and see them grow. I’ve met and collaborated with so many wonderful teachers. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many amazing parents. These connections allow students to grow, and witnessing this growth is what I love about my job.
From where do you draw professional inspiration? How do you stay connected and grow as an educator?
As many teachers have found, a PLN is an amazing place to share ideas. A couple educators from my PLN that have already been profiled on this site have definitely helped to inspire me. Linda Yollis and Kathleen Morris, as well as other amazing teachers such as Kelly Jordan and Jonah Salsich have been pivotal in my growth as an educator. Their creativity and ability to inspire their students have had a huge impact on who I’ve become as an educator.
I also have to credit my teaching partner, Bea Reynolds. She has been instrumental in helping me grow as an educator. She’s always there when I need somebody to bounce ideas off of or to collaborate with on different projects. I will definitely miss working with her next year when I change grade levels!
For a teacher looking to use technology to connect with students, enhance learning or embrace 21st century skills, where do you suggest one begin?
There’s really two great places for a teacher looking to embrace 21st century skills should begin, blogging and Twitter.
Keeping a classroom blog has been a pivotal part of the learning process in class this year. It teaches students about writing with a purpose and to an audience. It helps keep parents connected to the classroom so they can see what we’re working on. It also allows for class discussions to extend beyond the last bell of the day. On top of all that, it also opens up more opportunities for creative and engaging products as it gives you a place to display multiple web 2.0 tools or videos that you’ve created in class.
There are so many great tools out there now that it’s sometimes tough to keep up with them all. Thanks to my PLN on Twitter, they help to narrow it down to some of the best. Their advice has definitely introduced me to new tools that I’ve implemented in the classroom this year.
What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?
In today’s world, one of the most important skills a student can have is the ability to adapt. There are many reasons that a students ability to adapt can help them to succeed in school. To begin, every educator has a different teaching style. A student has to adapt from year to year based upon that. One year they may do a lot of individual projects. Another year they might find themselves facing of collaborative work. They need to be able to properly assimilate themselves into that classroom to grow as much as possible.
Technology also continues to expand at an exponential rate. Just a few years ago, students were mostly working desktop computers and might have had limited exposure to other devices. Today, students are exposed to laptops, tablets, smart phones, and multiple other forms of technology. Students need to be able to quickly adapt to new devices as new ones are constantly being put on the market and tested in the classroom. The ability to quickly learn how to work with these new devices will certainly help students on their way to a successful education.