Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?
At this point in my career, Dana Woods has been the most inspirational colleague for me.
I had been teaching at the same district for 10 years. There were many things I wanted to try with technology for my classroom, but always found obstacles in my way. Our district was very good with getting newer technology, but the permissions to use that technology really limited what you could do. I found myself working a lot at home to create SMARTBoard lessons because of the restricted access. The restrictions made it feel like we were just buying and introducing new overhead projectors- which came at a costly price. Enter Mr. Woods, someone who took media specialist to a new level- digital media specialist. We had talks about what I envisioned for my lessons and classroom and found ways to push toward those goals. He even talked me into resurrecting my twitter account and start looking at it as a PLN, #mnlead was my first attempt at a digital professional network. My first chat went awesome! I met quite a few great people from that chat, and had a few of them interested in my ideas- wait what? Things started to roll from there, I took my internet surfing from just looking for parts of lessons I could adapt for my teaching style to looking for people on twitter, blogs and other sites. I started finding a community of like-minded educators who must have been like me at some point- and things really began to click for me. I started this blog, mostly as a reflection piece for myself- as well as a digital resource of what I have done- and it became something slightly more. While I realize this blog is certainly small in the concept of the internet resources, I am happy I am here and happy to post things I do in class or think up for challenges for my students. I always wanted to become a better teacher for my students and this has allowed me to do that and more- I am able to share ideas that will touch other students across the globe.
I still check in on Dana, we both now teach at other schools, but I really want to thank him for opening up a door to a resource I could have otherwise never found, the #MTBoS. It has changed me and my teaching, something I am excited about and will always be grateful to him for that.