This year has been a year of growth and incredible adventure for me. So many firsts....1st time moderating a Twitter book chat, first time speaking at a conference, 1st time at ISTE, 1st time gamifying all of my culinary classes. If I were to choose one word to describe this past year it would be "LEAP". I didn't step out of my comfort zone... I leaped. As I reflect on 2016 all of my leaps have been significant but, two of these leaps have made a profound impact on my journey as an educator.
A year ago I was asked by author of Explore Like a Pirate, Michael Matera, to moderate a Twitter book chat. My experience of moderating book chats at that time...ZERO. Not only had I not moderated book chats, but I had not participated regularly in them either. So here I was deciding to leap big into an unknown world that I knew little about. I signed up for Tweetdeck for the first time and with encouragement and support from Michael, away I went. I remember the first few times moderating, I was terrified. What if my wifi went down, what if I didn't time the questions right? How would I reply to the guests? So many fears and so many questions yet, I still leaped. This leap was like jumping on to a pirate ship and sailing into uncharted waters and... what an adventure it has been. The friendships, the confidence, the growth I've gained has been exponential and if it wasn't for that first leap it wouldn't have happened.
Sometime in the early Spring of 2015 I took my second leap; I was asked to facilitate a session at the Southern Oregon Edtech Summit on gamification. Again, I was approached with a challenge that was beyond my comfort level. I reluctantly said yes, and then the fear set in. I felt that my ship was now in turbulent waters and I truly didn't know if I was going to make it to shore. The next few months I was paralyzed with fear. Why had I agreed to this? What if I forgot what to say? What if I stumbled over my words and didn't make sense? Where would I even start in organizing my presentation?
This summit happened to be on the craziest day of the school year. It was our MIlli Vanilli class dance-off competition at our high school and I was the Jr Class Advisor. If that was not enough, it was my son's 14th birthday. The days prior felt like impending doom as I was certain I had made a horrible decision. However, there was no turning back and all I could do was face my fear head on. I did, and it was a huge success. Looking back on this day in April, I now realize how pivotal it was for me. I had navigated successfully through the waters of fear and realized not only could I do it, but I enjoyed it. Sharing something I was passionate about fueled and energized me and I knew at that moment that the journey was just beginning.
As I look at my calendar for 2017, it is full of new adventures. The fear is still there as these adventures consist of more "leaps" into uncharted waters. However, when I reflect back on 2016 I am reminded of my previous leaps and how much I continue to learn and grow from them. My confidence is so much stronger than it was a year ago. I am more passionate and excited about education than I have ever been before. This would not have come without each leap and the support of my family, PLN, and students that continually encourage me and push me into deeper waters. To the many who have helped me "leap" this year, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.