Monday, June 8, 2015

Reflections of an ADE- Part 1

And so another year has come and gone. Hard to believe that it was just 180 days ago that a new batch of 1st graders came to my classroom with various interpretations of what 1st grade would be like... some excited, some shy, some nervous and some who, well, were ready to just move in and get started the minute I met them. All 17 of these kiddos in their own ways amazed me this year! We had a phenomenal year of learning together along with many ups and downs along the way- learning is always messy and never comes in a neat little package.

As I mentioned in a post awhile back (yes, it's been awhile~ sorry about that! Time has gotten away from me with the various commitments I made this year) some major things have happened in the past few months- some disappointing and some fabulous!  In my classroom we always ask for the bad news first so we can end with the good, so I'll do the same here and not dwell on the negative for more than a paragraph. 

As a district, we've had a vision for technology integration for quite some time. We've been chipping away at making this vision come to fruition by adding devices to classrooms, providing professional development for staff, and educating our parents and community members. We were at a point that funding was a big hindrance to the vision and so we brought our proposal to referendum. This was the 3rd time in 5 years that we've done this, but every other time, other items were attached to the referendum and it failed each and every time. Sounds like the next sentence will be positive right? but remember, start with the bad before the good. Well, needless to say after many planning meetings, share shops to answer questions and present the information to our stakeholders, and much blood, sweat, tears and passion... our referendum, with technology only, also failed. It's been a very disheartening blow, especially after putting 5 years passion into this. I walked around for a few days afterwards just numb, literally numb of all emotion. I taught, I put on a happy face for my students and my colleagues and said, we'd find a way, but in my heart, I was just numb. Nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch- devoid of emotion. It was sad and I didn't have words to explain my disappointment. I am still frustrated by the outcome of that vote, but as I said above, you can't dwell on the negative and so I've moved on and continue to implement what I know is good for student learning. The answers are coming, but the timeline will be much longer than planned. But that's a post for another time as that's my paragraph, and a long one at that.

On with the good... in November of 2014 I finally met Sue Gorman face to face at a conference. I have followed her on Twitter and connected a little here and there over the past couple of years. We spoke only briefly as she was presenting but she encouraged me to apply to be an Apple Distinguished Educator. I have admired those that have attained this title. I follow many "of them" on Twitter as well as their blogs. I have networked "with them" and collaborated "with them" on projects all with star-struck eyes; but when Sue told me to apply, I kept telling myself, I wasn't of that caliber. Not me. I just teach 1st grade. What's so innovative about what I am doing? I will say, it has been a dream of mine for a few years, but I just didn't think I was at the level needed to make a run for it. I looked into it, but applications were not being taken at the time and so I put it on the back burner with the intent of checking into it again at some point. On February 3rd, I received an email from Sue simply stating, "Please apply kind friend! The ADE Application is live."  That email sent me into a tailspin. I clicked on the link she had sent and logged in with my Apple account to see what would be involved in applying. The application process consisted of 4 questions and a 2 minute video and was due by March 1st. Ok, 4 weeks to get it all together, seemed doable. Once I read the questions though, I quickly realized that this was going to be quite a reflective journey, and reflective it was. 
Part 2 coming soon.... 

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