In working as a course assistant with CEP 812 at Michigan State University, it has allowed me an exceptional opportunity to review my own growth over the past three years. The assignment that the students are coming upon is to develop their Professional Learning Plan. Just like rummaging through memories in the attic, I pulled my virtual trunk out and looked back on my blog from the first year I was in the MAET program. My Professional Learning Plan from that year is below….
“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.” ~Dan Rather
Among my previous reflections, there are some consistent focuses that have emerged. The main driving force is perspective and our responsibility as educators to open our own. At the same time, we have the unique opportunity to impact the lives of others by helping them alter their own. In our classrooms, we choose to perceive students either based off of what we have heard or what we observe. I feel that it is my responsibility as an educator to push the envelope for myself and my colleagues and to continuously modify my own perspective. This will allow me to see all of my students in the best light and to allow my students to see themselves how I see them. With a positive perspective, all things are possible and the significance of this outlook could be something that greatly impacts a student, parent, or peer that we interact with. I will continue to challenge myself to perceive the world in a unique light and to see beyond what people ordinarily see. This is especially why I am interested in assisting children with special needs. To help me achieve my goals, I have established a Personal Plan of Positive Action.
When I read this, I had to smile because it took me back to my first year of teaching. I could see the exact students who were in my mind when I had created the original post. They all came back to me- their struggles, challenges, and successes. Of course mixed with my struggles, challenges, and successes I faced with my peers in broadening their perspectives about students also rushed back. Then, I literally laughed out loud and gasped at the same time because I instantly thought of my final project for the MAET program (2 summers after the post above)…
Not much had changed from my original sense of passion in the field of education! It was so refreshing to see that although I hadn’t looked back on this first blog post in some time, I was still carrying the torch and growing in my understanding of how to impact students through changing perspectives. What an awesome moment to reflect on where opportunities and experiences have taken me in the past three years. That initial professional learning plan helped me to keep hope and reach out to many resources throughout the following school year. It eventually broadened to include so many other resources utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, various Webinar services, conferences, and the list goes on.
Through allowing myself time to reflect and plan, I was able to truly understand what I needed as a learner. This is an invaluable experience and we often don’t get the time necessary to think about our individual needs as learners because we are typically so focused on our students’ learning. I challenge you to take a moment to focus on yourself. What do you need to become a better educator or a more inspired you? How will you achieve it?