I always thought my “WHY” came from my son and my students. Then, all of a sudden I realized, my “WHY” originated with me. Thank you PLN, Dave Burgess, and Aaron Hogan, one question about vulnerability on a Twitter chat and it all flowed out easily.
( The value of a PLN is immeasurable)
I did not start off wanting to be a teacher. I wanted nothing to do with anything that meant more education past a four year degree. I especially did not want to write. I am not sure where my avoidance of writing originated, but it has been there as long as I can remember. I avoided AP English, because there was a lot of writing. Then, in college it was unavoidable. I ended up in an independent study, one on one with a professor, because I was not prepared to be a college level writer. Why did I end up in that situation? I was a straight A student, in the top ten of my class in High School! Now, in college I needed an intervention for writing. Huge blow! I managed through, but still did not develop a love of writing. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising Management.
As my children entered school, I was again faced with education. A kindergarten teacher was let go mid year for one of my boys. The students had had 5 subs in 6 weeks. Yikes!
Something told me I needed to step in. The next thing I knew, I was in the principal’s office offering to sub for the remainder of the year. That was it! I was hooked and back to school for a Master's in Elementary Education. Thank goodness for an understanding and loving husband in so many ways. From supporting our family to cooking, cleaning, and helping me edit and revise numerous papers.
That wasn't the end. We moved to Wisconsin and my desire to help those struggling with reading, writing, and spelling led me back to school and MORE WRITING. I was fortunate though some professors were starting to use technology and included options to remove some barriers for me such as presentations with Prezi, Animoto, PowerPoint, etc. That was when I fell in love with app smashing. (I just didn't know the name for it then)
My last certification for Reading Specialist turned out to be the most difficult. There was a lot more writing and an instructor that ended any chance of me loving to write. I fully understood how an instructor could change everything. I was done writing forever. I had struggled before, but never had I felt my papers knit picked apart so much that there was nothing good about them. Content was not addressed, it was all about the grammar. I was ready to give up completely. Of course, my husband did not let me and re-focused me to my task and “WHY” I was putting myself through this. He is good at reminding me about how I would work with my students and turning me around even if I am not in a good mindset at the time. (Sorry Honey! Thank you for sticking with me.)
So “WHY” I do what I do to the best of my ability for myself, my son, and my students is that we deserve every opportunity to learn the way we learn best, allowing us voice, choice, path and pace. That includes being empowered to thrive with constructive feedback that includes success as well as what we can improve. We need to give learners the benefit of the doubt that they are doing their best and encourage them to grow.
So, thank you #tlap and #teachermyth PLN for the great chat and helping me to realize I need to be in the game sharing my voice and reflections for my students, peers, colleagues, and PLN. Our voices together is what is going to make education for our students great.
April Padalino and Cyndi Dull
We are educational coaches with a passion for learning and empowering students, parents, and educators to Bring Education to Life.