Today it is my pleasure to feature a guest post from educator Kim Sivick (@ksivick), a second time contributor to @TeachTec, following her popular post, “Don’t afraid to be awesome today.” Kim is a technology coordinator at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, PA. Kim and I met this summer at the Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum, you can find out more about her project and the work of 100 amazing educators from the Forum here.
Recently, while at the Microsoft Partners in Learning US Forum event in Redmond, I had the good fortune of spending a few days with teachers that love their jobs. These teachers, without exception, are those individuals who think outside the box, they think “what if” then go on to challenge themselves and their students to find the answer. They try new things and push limits; they have the courage to propose new ideas and the conviction to follow through. They teach with passion, inspiring their students and peers alike.
How do you develop into a passionate, innovative educator? What class do you need take? What degree do you need to earn? How much time must you devote?
The answer is very personal. I can’t begin to map a generic route to success as a teacher/learner. What I do know is that surrounding yourself with passionate people is a great start. Enthusiasm is indeed contagious. Open your mind to new ideas. Embrace differences, listen to stories, share and learn with a group. Continue to reflect, evaluate and revise your teaching. Model the behavior you’d like to see in your students.
Attend as many professional development events as time, distance and finances will allow. Become an expert at finding opportunities for learning, such as Edcamps, TEDx & Tweetups. Take advantage of online communities like Microsoft Partners in Learning Network, Twitter chats, blogs, and webinars.
Use social media to stay in touch with other teachers. Develop a Twitter Personal Learning Network (PLN) and talk to people. Sometimes it’s that simple, a face-to-face conversation. Skype and Blackboard Collaborate are great ways to connect face-to-face with educators all over the world.
Welcome the opportunity to learn from and with anyone. The point is, not how you connect, but that you do connect. Often, it’s the moments when you step outside your comfort zone, outside a group of known individuals, that you learn the most.
Don’t wait for motivation, actively seek inspiration. Blogs like Anthony Salcito’s Daily Adventures blog can help start your day, not just with inspiration, but affirmation that the world is full of excellent teachers.
I was not one of the educators chosen to be a finalist at the US Forum. Was I disappointed? Well, an all expense paid trip to Prague would have been awesome. However, once I walked around the exhibition floor and really looked at the projects other educators had displayed, I knew I had to be honest with myself. I had work to do. I didn’t let myself get discouraged, rather I am more motivated than ever. Not only do I want to apply again, but also I now have a new community of teachers to look to for inspiration, honest feedback and support. Teachers are wonderful that way.
To all the finalists at the 2012 US Forum, you rock! Your passion and enthusiasm came shinning through. Your students are blessed. Congratulations on well-deserved honors. I wish you all the best in Prague. It was a pleasure spending time with you and I hope you’ll stay in touch. I will be looking to you for inspiration. See you on the Partners in Learning Network.
Kim Sivick (@ksivick)
Technology Coordinator, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Philadelphia, PA
See related posts: