Posted in Driving Disruption

Failing Forward

Upon starting the Digital Leading and Learning graduate program at Lamar University I was ready to push myself to be the best student and succeed.  I was fully under the impression that this program would be just like any other graduate program so I would need to read all of the books ahead of time and began to form my essays before the first assignments.  I finished the entire book before I was fully registered and when the blackboard opened I began to draft each discussion assignment to have done ahead of time so that I could just hit submit.  After the first class I realized that this class was going to be very different.  Once I was not just told about but completely immersed in the COVA (Choice, Voice, Ownership and Authenticity) model I was terrified.  I have never experienced education like this for myself even though I have seen the value and try to provide parts of it to my students year after year.

I was not terrified that I didn’t know how to use COVA I was terrified of not being told what to do and how to do it.  I freaked out because I didn’t know my boundaries or what the structure was.  I was allowed to have a different way to convey the same message as someone else.  I love being unique so I was excited to try something new and learn out of the box methods or platforms to share with the class.  On the other hand my anxiety was through the roof because I just knew that I couldn’t just turn in assignments that are “wrong”.

failing_forward bike
I am better now and recovering quite nicely 🙂

 

I truly belief that my constant work to stay in the growth mindset is what has made me able to fail forward.  Mistakes are not the end of the world but are instead a chance to learn and improve which helps me to get closer to success.  As I continue this program I know that it will take work to make sure that I am staying in the grow mindset but it will all be worth it in the end.  I see that my “yet” may not be easy but I am ready and willing to trade it in for my “can’t”.  Through this course I will not only be able to make changes within myself but within my classroom and on to my organization as a positive yet authentic leader.

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Posted in A marathon NOT a sprint, Driving Disruption, Insanity

I don’t think I can; I know I can.

 

Progress is being made daily and I attribute it to the Digital Leading and Learning course as I have really been immersed in the growth mindset and COVA method.  My passion and nerdy excitement for learning has allowed me to reel the students then plant seeds of success within in them as they learn to love learning. 🙂

My students are starting to not only explore on their own but using “I’ll try” instead of “I don’t know” or  “I can’t”.  It’s very refreshing and beautiful to hear and see what they can authentically produce on their own.  I’m really a math nerd so it’s very exciting to me when the students can connect to the content in their own way and see value as I do.  I was starting to lose my passion for teaching which I chose to do and thanks to this course I can see that I have the power of “yet” to continue to share my passion and possibilities with more students and staff.  It’s not time for me to jump ship just yet.  🙂

Posted in A marathon NOT a sprint, About me, Driving Disruption

The heart of the matter

I am trying to lead my organization away from giving generic directives that are usually presented with an inspirational motto and a beautiful prospectus at the beginning of each school year.

Teach to reach every student! (empty motto number 1,272 and counting)

However, by the end of the semester it’s clear that plans weren’t followed and it’s too late to start because testing season is now priority number one.  The previous year’s test scores were not where they wanted them to be for various reasons.  There was one year where the staff was actually told at the beginning of the year that it was about the school and not about the students.  This statement literally broke my spirit and heart.

forgetnames2
It became clear that it was no longer about the learner.

 

I starting thinking then that it was either time to leave or lead.  My introduction to the growth mindset ignited a spark that is helping me to aim for leading and I’m learning from the new wins along the way.

 

Posted in A marathon NOT a sprint, Driving Disruption

Professional Learning Groups

I have always thought of professional learning groups outside of the math department at my school as something that would have to be purchased and paid for annually to utilize.  I figured that I could just use google to get or make some of the same connections or obtain information. The professional learning groups are going to help me to collaborate more and create low stakes islands for myself to accomplish some of my goals that get pushed aside in the daily whirlwind of work tasks.

I previously researched the ISTE conference that is being held this summer (2017) in San Antonio but I had never thought about just joining the free professional learning groups that are mentioned on the site.  I honestly didn’t look into it because I thought that one would have to pay for the conference before they could have access to any of the “goodies” from the website.  I’m glad that this assignment made me take a second look at the website.  I joined the learning groups.  I was also able to download a free e-book about digital connections in the classroom and there is even a section that details the development of digital citizenship.

When I first started teaching I was a consumer but as I gained my own stride I began to contribute.  Once I started to share my ideas with anyone that I could I noticed something very odd and upsetting.  Rejection of ideas that were not originated by the recipient seem to be the culture of the department.  Collaboration was really forced teacher meetings where everyone had to pretend to care about other ideas when the administrator was in the room.  Upon leaving our collaboration meetings the “team” disseminated to plan what they were really going to use for their lessons.  This made me feel as if my ideas were wrong and I would secretly try them in my room but smile and nod that I acclimated with the plan when good assessment results came back.

As I take baby steps to put myself out there again with data that backs up my methods I can’t wait to share everything that I have tried whether it has worked or not.  I also hope to gain insight into things that I hope to try which might assist me with planning or warn me against the possible pitfalls within my vision.  I know that there is another nerdy math teacher (or a few thousand) that think of math as a series of beautiful engaging blocks that anyone can learn to love and connect to.

 

Current Professional Learning Networks (I’m hooked…more to come 🙂 ):

Friday Institute

http://mathforum.org/fe/

http://www.nctm.org/

The personal learning network for educators

International Society for Technology in Education

Computer Science for ALL teachers

I have also been professionally developing myself by talking to professional peers and watching some great TED talks.  I am currently more a consumer in the online professional groups that I have joined as I receive the email updates and check the websites periodically.  I am hoping to post more of my ideas as I maintain my ePortfolio and share it out to the communities that I have joined with the hopes of contributing to anyone that can use it to help lead positive change in the world of learning.