Prior to this current school year I’d have to define my knowledge of technology as limited. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was pretty darn good at the basics. Internet, word processing, excel, and of course Facebook were no problem. That being said, I can’t say that I was using technology in my teaching. Yes, I let my students play the occasional computer game but I was not using technology to improve my teaching or my students learning. The reality is that I didn’t really know where to start, what to do, and I wasn’t completely sold on if it would truly be worth my time.
Agreeing to be a part of the Next Gen Leadership Cadre meant choosing to have an open mind, to learn, and to TRY. It meant choosing to get out of my comfort zone, to try things even when I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, and often it meant asking for help. Starting out, there was a lot of apprehension. Maybe even a bit of reluctance. I know, I know – I signed up for this, but how could I use something with my students when I wasn’t even good at it yet? Ah, there’s that word. Yet. I wasn’t confident in the beginning but have become much more so and continue to improve. I have become comfortable with trying something new with my students even if I’m still learning it alongside them. (Well, mostly. Hey, still a work in progress here.)
What did I learn? I learned that my students are completely okay with me learning things right alongside them. I learned that there is an overwhelming network of support that I can call on when I need help. I learned that all that help truly wants the best for me and my students and will offer support in a safe, non-judgmental way. I learned that using technology can offer so much to my students. I learned that I’ve only scratched the surface of using technology in my teaching. I still have so much to learn. Has it been easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Absolutely! So for that, I will continue to choose to be a work in progress.
Today's thoughts come to us from Ms. Kelli Barnes. A special education teacher for 13 years, Kelli has enjoyed learning from and working with a diverse population of students in grades 1 - 6. Being a mom of three young children has given her a renewed sense of patience and understanding of her students, as well as a lot less sleep. She generally runs on sunshine, coffee, and chocolate. Kelli has been married to a farmer for eight years and enjoys her life in the country.