So I'll admit that I almost decided to leave the classroom over the past few weeks. There was a great opportunity with a company sharing a product. This meant a relocation, new environment, and sharing an edtech tool with hopefully thousands of new users. I had multiple interviews with them and even had what was probably the final interview before they made their decision. Two days later I withdrew my application. The problem: I just couldn't do it. Don't get me wrong, I know that at some point I might leave the classroom and be involved with educational technology as a Technology Integration Specialist or a similar role, maybe even working for an edtech company, but this didn't feel like the right fit for me. Another reason why I just couldn't do it is that I didn't feel like my time in the classroom working directly with students was over.
As teachers we are constantly being evaluated and critiqued on our teaching. Day in and day out can be a challenge, but we have to keep thinking about why we became teachers in the first place. With burnout rate very high for teachers and around 50% of teachers leaving within five years, There has to be a better way of keeping good teachers in the classroom.
I could have been one of those statistics since I have only competed three years in the classroom. Luckily my district allowed me to travel to Austin, Texas for iPadPalooza. When I first got there and attended some of the concurrent sessions, I wan't totally impressed. A lot of these teachers that were presenting were doing things that were very similar to my classroom and some just weren't great presenters. I know that I'm not the best teacher in the world, but didn't feel inspired.
Two days passed and then on the final day: AAAHHH. Finally seeing presenters that inspired me to make more change within my classroom. Meghan Zigmond, Don Goble, Todd Nesloney, Don Goble, and Richard Wells had me leaving with ideas on how I can improve my classroom. Meghan helped me to realize how I need to have my students creating more. Don helped me show the power of movies to share learning. Todd showed me how I need to incorporate PBL, and Richard gave me better insight how one acronym (PBL, UBL, QFAT) is not always the most effective when teaching students.
Sometimes we just need to get out of our comfort zone, mix up what we do in the classroom, and ask for forgiveness when we try something new that is different from the others in our school and district.
After three years of being so hard on myself, I finally felt inspired to make big changes in my classroom. The passion I had for teaching is back and I'm excited to see how my classroom will change over the next school year.