Reflection and Evolution: An Educator’s Purview
There is a well-known quote that reads, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” and, while its origin is widely debated, it resonates deeply with my experience as a Michigan State University graduate student for the past two years.
Given I studied business as an undergraduate, my path into the field of education has been less conventional and much of my pedagogical knowledge has been fostered through practical, hands-on experience in the classroom. Since my first year teaching, I have remained steadfast on being able to provide students with the most optimal educational experience possible. That said, having the will and necessary tools to do so are two very distinct things and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program has served as an eye-opening and invaluable learning experience as I continue to evolve my role as an educator and learner.
Upon entering the MAET program, my personal and professional goals encompassed seeking opportunities to become inspired, to challenge and push myself outside of my comfort zone, to learn from other educators and professionals outside of my current learning network, and to acquire and refine the tools and knowledge necessary to help my students and peers achieve the highest level of success.
As I look forward to graduating this spring, I recognize that the goals I entered the graduate program with remain at the forefront of my focus. I continue to be motivated by what I see fellow educators doing in their classroom and, more importantly, the impact it has on their students. While my professional learning network (PLN) has significantly grown with the addition of many instructors and classmates, I remain focused on continuing to expand and foster relationships with forward-thinking professionals who can challenge my practice and motivate me to take risks both inside the classroom and as an aspiring leader outside of it.
Maintaining a growth-mindset, I plan to continue pushing myself as an educator and recognize that the ability to master the craft of disseminating knowledge in a way that both resonates and probes inquisition is an iterative process. It requires self-reflection, introspection, collaboration, humility and being open to feedback and alternative perspectives — all of which I am committed to practicing.
One distinguishable addition to my goals is that I now also seek to embody the role of not just an educator, but a leader serving as an example for my colleagues and members of my PLN. I look to be an advocate for effective technology integration in education and society — influencing my PLN to recognize, utilize and expand technology as an integrated and consistent supplemental tool rather than solely as a replacement tool. Further, by assisting in developing meaningful curricula and designing lessons that help students practice being creators as much as consumers, I can inspire my colleagues to make similar revisions to their own practices.
While graduate school has undoubtedly equipped me with a wealth of new knowledge on learning theories, pedagogical strategies and technology integration, I plan to continue building my knowledge and experience as a passionate, lifelong learner by facilitating and participating in professional development opportunities that can improve my practice and those of fellow educators. Learning is a reciprocative process and I look forward to continuing to serve as an educator my students rely on and a learner inspired to seek more.
February 1, 2019