Teaching was my destiny. My first grade teacher gave me reading groups to lead because I could read. In middle school and high school, teachers had me help other students. In 11th and 12th grade ceramics, I was in charge of all of the firings and glaze mixing. When I was a teenager, all my summer jobs were camp counselor jobs. I was always with children. Naturally, I went to college to become an elementary education teacher. I minored in art, which was convenient later when I decided to get my Master’s degree in art education.
My first year of teaching was in a small private school teaching Kindergarten. The next year, I was lucky to get a first grade position in a public school and I taught first grade for 8 more years. It was during this time I realized I really wanted to teach art, so I got my Masters degree and certification in art education.
After those years of teaching Kindergarten and first grade, an elementary art position opened up and I grabbed it. This year is my twenty-first year of teaching elementary art.
All that teaching experience is great, but I am on this leadership path because of Twitter. Really! I became a connected educator about three years ago and once I realized I could learn about educational subjects I was interested in, I was hooked.
Without even realizing it, everything I learned online led to me to become determined to make some changes in my school to use tech to improve student learning. (My assistant principal said there was no stopping me!) It was impossible for my elementary students to create and get their work off of shared iPads. Apps that were supposed to be easy to use were not. As their art teacher, this drove me absolutely crazy! Student iPad use was SO limited, students were using them as worksheets. Drill and practice has a purpose, but I had learned through my online connections that students needed to create with technology, not just fill in blanks. When I realized that no one else was going to fight for what was right for students, I had to push things in that direction. Partly because of my leadership, all teachers and students have their own Google Drive accounts this year, and my colleagues have had relevant tech PD, created and delivered by myself and other teachers.
For the last two years I have been recognized in my district as a teacher leader. Some of my connections on Twitter are educators who live right here in Fairfield County. These educators are now friends who I turn to for support and advice. One suggestion they gave me was to get my admin certification so that I could touch more students. At first I thought they were crazy, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense for me. When I mentioned it to my building administrators, they agreed. When I complete this certification, my vision is to someday work as a technology coordinator, arts coordinator or curriculum/PD director.
I am a creative, innovative and passionate educator. My vision is to advocate for students to ensure they get the most out of their time at school and become lifelong learners. I’m no longer just playing school with siblings: I hope to help shape an exciting future for student learning through art and technology.