@TeachThought Day 29: My Journey as a Teacher

I have been teaching for 18 years now (technically 19, I took one year off after my second child was born) and I have changed in many ways but the core of who I am as an educator has remained the same.

I began teaching during the mid-1990s, a time of prosperity in Michigan. There have been many changes in Michigan since that have directly impacted public education here and times have been tougher. I see a resiliency in educators, though, and we face these struggles knowing that our students need us now more than ever. 

One of the greatest changes for me as an educator occurred during the first ten years of my career--I became a Mom. I was a good teacher before, I am a much better teacher now. I always showed empathy for my students, it's an ingrained quality. Having my own children directly impacted me, though, because I see every young person in my classroom as someone's son or daughter. That reality was profound for me and effects my decisions, both big and small.

I now value the power of collaboration even more than I have before. I have learned so much from the mentors that have guided me through the years. Collaboration with a school counselor four years ago, for example, resulted in the creation of a service-learning class that I teach that has now expanded to another middle school in the district. I'm on the district school improvement committee and I see how the schools in my district work together and positively impact one another. Another mentor helped me find the confidence to take a huge leap with technology and have a Smartboard in my classroom--I will be forever grateful for this guidance and leadership because it was the catalyst for me to expand my use of educational technology--I even won an iPad contest a few years ago and had a classroom set to use for an extended period of time.

I have grown so much since my first year in the classroom and I look forward to what's next!

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