Back in February I was asked to implement 1:1 laptops in my classroom as part of a pilot program. I was told that there were only 2 classrooms in the entire district piloting this, myself and a junior high class. My heart fluttered and I thought it was going to explode in excitement. With no hesitation I agreed. This turned out to be a life changing decision.
From March until the end of school in May, I had teachers, administrators, and district office staff (including the superintendent) coming through my classroom to see what was going on. There was a lot of hype about my class and about what my kids and I were doing in it with the laptops and projects the kids were working on. My kids were amazing during all of this and rocked it like champs! They answered questions so well that it blew me away. At the end of the year, I thanked my students for all of their cooperation and hard-work with this implementation. It was because of them that people around the district and in the district office now knew my name. It was because of them our class became famous in the district.
I have never been the type of person to 'show-off' or promote myself in anyway. Even now when I receive compliments, I smile and get very embarrassed but graciously thank them. I take everything to heart, but I do not let it go to my head. I work my tail off and make my classroom and the learning as exciting as possible. I am always looking at the next thing to do and what I can always change.I push the limits with my teaching and the projects I do (especially with materials I have received from DonorsChoose).
For so long I was frustrated because I was passed over on opportunities, or it was the same person who did it every year and it didn't change. I knew no one outside of my school site and had not grown up in the district as many of my coworkers, had so I felt at a disadvantage since I could not network with as many people as others could.
Finally a couple of years ago, I took a position as a Model Technology Teacher. I helped with software and hardware issues, troubleshooted what I could, and did trainings on new programs that were coming out. Of course I didn't just stay with that, I kept exploring new avenues and finding new technology and programs to use in the classroom. Finally, I began to shine and slowly... ever so slowly people began to take notice.
I will be beginning my 9th year of teaching this year and will be starting it in a whole new fashion. I will be starting this coming year as a teacher, but also someone who the district office knows (the superintendent knows me! Crazy right?!), someone who was qualified to apply for a job at the district level (I didn't get it though because God has other plans for me right now. :) ), someone who will continue to teach other teachers at a higher level with integrating technology in the classroom, and someone who people are coming to for help with technology, projects, lessons, and classroom management ideas. I am blown away and overwhelmed with joy at everything that has transpired in these past 4 months.
I know there are more people out there just like me. People who work their tails off and go unnoticed for all the amazing things they do. People who, once they find their niche, will take off and shine! My message to you is to keep doing what you're doing. Keep pushing yourselves to the next level and moving on. No matter how hard, frustrating, or how many tears you cry... keep going! You can get there. It took me 8 years and I am not done yet! I am planning to keep growing. My next step is to become a Google Certified Educator. :)
My favorite quote is from U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill:
"Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."