This is my 100th post on this site and I could NOT be more proud!! Thank you to each and every one of you that subscribe to this blog and my YouTube channel. I will send something special to my subscribers in the coming weeks. Look for an exclusive newsletter (beautifully done of course!) with insider videos, opportunities to connect with me in person, and even more helpful ideas. Thank you to each of you that has supported my efforts in person or from far away. You are appreciated! This blog is a testament to what happens when we pursue what sets us on fire. I plan to keep dreaming with it. Here is my journey in brief. I share it hoping that if you are in a similar place, you understand how many options are absolutely in front of you and choose to pursue what lights you up.
My Serendipitous Beginning
I was a public school teacher for more than a decade. I began teaching right out of college and came to the profession through a traditional training program. After teaching my first year, I quit. I was so overwhelmed by the job and disillusioned about the system that I didn’t believe I had made the right career choice. My kids liked me but some of their parents did have faith in me, my coworkers definitely did not, and my administrator was not exceptionally skilled in growing new teachers. I was clueless about how to get better and lacked the critical feedback needed to improve. I came back to the classroom after taking a year off because out of the blue (seriously I do not know how it happened even now) a school principal called and told me that my resume had been handed to him. He invited me in for an interview and I was hired to teach English. That was the best thing that could have happened to me. I became a teacher in a place that believed in development and provided me the support needed to be successful. I eventually left that school and worked other places, but the learning that I received there stuck with me..including exposure to ed tech. Along the way I learned how to write curriculum, how to be an effective co-teacher, and became an instructional coach to help develop teachers the way I wished that someone would have developed me my first years in the classroom.
My Wrong Turn in the Right Direction
I have always wanted to stretch myself, so I took every opportunity I could to lead initiatives and help my superiors. When I had finally earned my principal’s certificate, I let my then administrators know and waited for a job opportunity to open up for me. I applied to surrounding districts for administrative openings and reached out to my strong and weak professional connections. Despite my active networking, the opportunity to lead a building did not happen. Ambitious and driven, I left my position and moved to a new school. There I did the same thing, I let my administrator and others know that I was certified and looking to advance. I offered to help with projects, I conceived of projects and carried them out, and overall tried to make myself useful and highly visible. Still, the door did not open for me in school leadership again. After the rejection, I began to question again if I was in the right profession.
My Education Breakthrough
I have never been a person to dwell on a disappointment. I truly believe that if an opportunity is meant for me, it will not miss me. I have always felt a sense of Divine guidance in my life and feel it even now. When things go awry, I look at what I could have done differently and try to make a better choice should the situation arise again. In this case, I realized that what I really wanted was to focus on teacher development, parent/community engagement, and strategic planning. These were the skills I had become adept at using and the ones that came most naturally to me. I wanted the freedom to come and go, think creatively, and test out my new ideas. It occurred to me that I did not have to become an administrator to do any of those things. I looked instead for my tribe. I went in search of educators like me who wanted to extend their influence but were not taking on administrative roles. I found them at The Lean Lab Education see my post on that here . I also found them on Twitter and at conferences like ISTE. In addition to that, I listened to podcasts and read books about people pursuing their passions (my favorites are Originals, Risk/Reward, and Think Like a Freak for books and Work/Life with Adam Grant and How to Be Awesome at Your Job for podcasts). I learned that I could create the resource I wanted to have. That is what I set out to do. I made my vision board and set a goal to blog and vlog every interesting educator that I met. I wanted to provide educators contact with people who could spark their next move the way I had looked for educators to help spark mine. In working to put together all that I was seeing, I discovered than rather an administrator alone, I am multifaceted…a connector, an explorer, an orchestrator of change. I could not be who I am now had I gotten what I wanted then. This is what truly lights me up and I am happy to have found it.
The Journey Thus Far
After blogging, traveling, and vlogging for several months I can say that this leap is one of the most rewarding that I have taken. It gives me a sense of excitement to meet new educators, hear their stories, and share them with all of you. I am happy about each new connection made and each new experience shared. This is my way of giving back and it is working. I hear from you all of the time about how a video I shared helped push your thinking or improve your practice. That is the entire reason that I am doing it! I am not sure what lies ahead, but I know it is bound to be greater than I ever imagined. I like this exploration phase and I won’t put more pressure on it than that. It is nice to know that whatever ideas I conceive of I can explore and share. Whatever projects I can think of taking on, I can design and take on. Whatever teachers I look to connect with are there to be spoken with. It is a powerful and humbling place to be. It is also a position I only have because each of you shows up to read these blogs bi-weekly (or more some weeks) and many of you have elected to subscribe and get my email updates. I want to thank you all so much for allowing me to share my story and my learning. Please continue to invite me out to see your work in person and we can learn even more from each other!
Here is to hundreds more posts and a journey that continues to be anything but ordinary.
**NOTE** If you have an innovation you want to share with me email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to continue to connect!