So last week, I was completely surprised when I learned on Twitter that I had been nominated for a Bammy Award by Don Wettrick. It was such an honor to read the nomination. I was so excited, so thankful, and couldn't wait to share the good news. But then it happened...fear set in. I worried that others would think I was boasting if I shared and so I shared with a very limited few.
As I thought about the nomination this weekend, I began to realize that this is not about me but it's about my students, my supportive administration, and my amazing PLN that has given me back my passion for teaching.
In 2013, I became a connected educator and began learning from others on Twitter. I took in as much as I could and began blogging often to reflect on my learning. It wasn't long after this that I saw Don Wettrick on Two Guys and Some iPads. I listened as he talked about Innovations and the amazing things that his students were doing in his classroom. After hearing him share, I wondered what this would look like in an elementary classroom and began to ask questions. Shortly after this, Don Skyped with my students and the rest is history.
Innovations and Genius Hour has changed the way that I see my role in the classroom. Instead of considering myself the expert, we look beyond the four walls of our classroom and find the real experts. My students create their own learning experiences and share their learning with the world.
Just like that, I found my passion for teaching again. I began to realize that this is what I wanted for my students. I wanted them to learn in ways that were meaningful for them. I wanted to design learning experiences instead of write lesson plans. I wanted them to learn from outside experts that could teach them more than I ever could. I didn't want to lecture but instead wanted to learn with my students.
I began to connect with other Genius Hour teachers including Joy Kirr, Paul Solarz, and Terri Eichholz. I learned so much from them and still learn from them almost every day. Without their resources and blog posts, I would be lost.
My students have found that Genius Hour helps them find purpose. Their work is relevant and meaningful. Because of this, they want to be in my classroom. They look forward to class and enjoy sharing their projects with anyone that will listen. Their desire to learn new things was the fuel that ignited this fire and their willingness to continue to learn has kept it burning.
I remember the day that I went in to tell my principal about Genius Hour and that I planned on just letting the students learn what they wanted, how they wanted. Instead of resisting and making it difficult, she simply said that she trusted me and told me to go for it. Without her support, none of the things that we are doing right now would be possible.
Finally, the parents of my students have been patient, understanding, and gracious as we have implemented this program over the last couple of years. We have learned together how to be flexible and creative as we make the dreams of the students come true. It's not always easy and it doesn't always work out, but together we do all that we can to make each project as successful as possible.
So all of that to say that I will not be afraid to share my Bammy Nomination. Instead, I will be thankful. I will be proud of the work that my students have done and the amazing connections that I have made along the way. It's not about me or what I am doing. It's about my students that I am learning from each and every day. It's about the amazing administrators that trust me enough to allow me to take risks. It's about the parents giving their children the opportunity to do amazing things. It's about my incredible PLN that has made me the teacher that I always wanted to be...a teacher that takes risks, trusts her students, and looks forward to coming to work each day. Most importantly, it's about being able to share the positive things that are going on in education and realizing that we all play a role.