This is a week late but is my first blog under the Share #YourEdustory family of blogs! This also happens to be a topic that I am passionate about solving, I am doing what I am doing for this very reason.
I have always tried to do things a little bit differently, I really did not want my class to be like every other class. I wanted something different and unique, something that would impact the students and leave a positive memory with them.
One of the first “changes” that I made was introducing music as part of the classroom culture (no one in my school outside of the music folks did this). I teach math (not music) but I knew that playing music during class could be beneficial. So in my second year of teaching, I brought the boombox from home, found a Braveheart disc and it was game on. I have had music playing in my room ever since (and expanded well beyond Braveheart).
Another big change was transforming my teaching model from a traditional classroom to a flipped classroom. This was really tough, but very intentional. I made this change because I had started to get into some really familiar routines and wanted to do something very different. Another big change: at the beginning of the school year last year, I gamified my calculus class. It was a struggle, it was fun, it was exciting, and the days zoomed by soooo fast!
Why did I change to a flipped class? I though it had potential! Why did I gamify? I thought it would make a big and fun difference!
I had the opportunity to attend my first ISTE conference in 2013 and was so impressed! I loved the vibe! I loved the ideas I was getting from others! I LOVED this conference!! This conference really got me thinking about what I am doing in the classroom. What could I change? What needed to stay the same? How could I help students own their learning (even more than in a flipped environment) and be even more brilliant? All of these questions…I decided I had to go back and the very next year, my friend and I had a table session!
These ideas from ISTE had me looking around my school, one of the best public high schools in our state (True Story!) and I thought, we could be even more amazing….I dug into educational technology and the ideas from the conferences and from this point forward life was all about change. I would talk to any of my colleagues who would listen. I would stop them in the hall. Talk to them over the bathroom stalls. Walk them to class. Send staff wide emails…
Fast forward to this past winter, I resigned my teaching position to become a full time PhD student at Oklahoma State University. This was change of the highest magnitude! It was also very intentional. One of the biggest reasons that I did this was to put myself into a position to help teachers make changes without being afraid (see the top graphic). I want to help them see that change is not bad, it can be so rewarding! But it can be so difficult to start.
I want to give teachers the opportunity to see that change is doable and can vastly improve the already amazeballs things that they are already doing. I want them to get to a point where, as a profession, we do not fear change. That we are willing to try new models and ideas. That we are willing to risk failure so we can learn. That we don’t just change for change sake, but through intention we grow so that our students can GROW!
I have rambled…Thank you for reading 🙂