Get out of your Comfort Zone.

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Be Careful… Amazing change lies ahead!

As teachers we get stuck into our own ways. We stick to the same routines and traditions that we are used to. We figure out what works and we do it because it’s what fits us best. I think it’s time that we get away from our comfort zone and start doing something new and exciting.Shake things and up! I think that it’s time that we all take a look at ourselves and take a few risks.

I knew from a very young age that I was going to be a teacher and the competitive spirit inside me always made me want to be the best teacher in the school where I would be. Then, when I first got into the teaching profession, my goal was to educate my students, so that they would enjoy my class the way that I did when I was a student. I want to find a team that I would coach since sports have always been a major part of my life. Most importantly I wanted to have fun while doing it all. Now, my view of the future is completely different.

Over the past 10 years in this amazing profession my view of my job has changed. Lately I have been trying to do new things to really help make a difference in the lives of my students and to help my colleagues to grow to become the best educators they can be. I have taken steps to become a leader in my school, I have become a technology coach where I have the ability to work with my colleagues and discuss ideas with them about how to incorporate different technology into their lessons. I have taken responsibility in some of the different roles being offered to teacher leaders and it is something that I am embracing and getting excited about.

While some of these thing will be scary, I am trying to get out of my comfort zone, while I am preparing myself for a career as an Educational Leader in some way. Over the next few weeks and months, I am going to be taking some chances on myself. I am going to be doing some things that I have never done before and I am very excited for the things that I am attempting.

  • I am presenting at four different educational conferences!
  • Become part of the #EdCampLdr (NJ) Planning committee.
  • Creating and Moderating new Twitter chats.
  • Taking more of a leadership role within my school.
  • Enrolling in an Educational Leadership Masters Program.
  • Experimenting with new lessons and new techniques with my students.

If you’re still reading this, Thank You! I believe that reflection is the key to growth, so I want you all to sit back and think. Think about why you become an educator. What do you do one a daily basis and how can you do more to take risks? What are some of the things that you are doing to get out of your comfort zone? How scared are you to try something new? Now.. Get out there and try something new. This isn’t a pool, don’t just put one foot in to test the water, jump in with both feet!

#YourTurnChallenge: Day 2!

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IMG_4055What’s Important? Family!

As part of the #YourTurnChallenge, today’s writing prompt is, What is something important to you? Right away, the thing that stands out in my mind is my family! I have been married to an amazing woman for the last 5 years. We have two sons; our 2 year old Ryan and our newest addition, 6 week old Daniel. They are my reason for everything right now. They are the reason why I wake up in the morning, the reason why I strive to be the best person, educator, father and husband and they are why I create goals for myself. I feel like I have let them down if I don’t do what I have planned to do.

I always saw myself with a family, but I never expected life to be this amazing! I absolutely love being a Daddy! I love that I am teaching my 2 year old all the things that are important to me, and he actually seems to be interested. To see the happiness in his eyes when he kicks a ball, or plays with his fire truck or when he sees his favorite animal on TV… That happiness is contagious!

Although my life has changed in so many ways since the birth of both of the boys, my relationship with my wife has never been better. While we have some tough times, all couples do, we can sit back and watch our two little guys and everything gets better. Family is what is really important to me!

#YourTurnChallenge: Day 1

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Let’s Get it Started…

Why are you doing the Your Turn Challenge? I came across the Your Turn Challenge through Seth Godin’s blog. I have been wanting to start a blog for a few years now and I decided that on January 1st, my goal would be to blog once a week for a month and then extend my blog through there. My first few posts of the new year were about a week apart but with this challenge, I can actually force myself to do more and say more about what is important to me.

As an educator, I feel that I have so many thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences that I want to share with others. Although I love being in the classroom and being with students, I have other things that I want to do in the field of education in the future. Lately, I have been loving the fact that I can work with teachers and run Professional Development classes throughout my district. This has lead me to start looking at becoming a supervisor or a building administrator or even tech coach. There are so many options available and each day I start to picture where I see myself in 5 years.

I want my blog to not only show people who I am as a person, educator and family man, but I want to show myself that I can do more than I ever thought was possible. I want to build on my experiences, learn from the journey’s in my classroom and help others grow as educators. I want this blog to be something that I can look back on and be proud of what I have done and where I am going in the future!

Collaboration… Are you available?

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As a teacher, It is obvious that collaboration is more important AND more accessible than it ever has been before. If that is the case, why are there still so many teachers that keep their doors closed during the school day, refuse to even try to use Twitter as a professional development tool and only ask questions when they are in dire need?

My district is finally a GAFE district, and with that comes new chromebooks (1:1 in the HS, carts throughout MS and Elem) for our students to use. This is the first year with GAFE and many teachers are trying really hard to integrate this new technology into their classes. Some are doing really extravagant things, while others are using it as an extension of a notebook (using docs to write papers, slides to create presentations, etc.).

As a tech coach in my district, I want the teachers in my building to come to me with questions, concerns or new ideas that they want help implementing. I want these teachers to come visit my classroom and see how I use technology. I want to be able to sit with my colleagues during our free periods to discuss how to create amazing lessons that use some outstanding technology. While this is what I want, many people don’t take advantage of our services. Teachers don’t want to use their time for this. That’s what gets me upset about collaboration… It’s almost non-existent.

Maybe I am different than a lot of people within my school and district. I have embraced Twitter and the amazing educators that are there on a daily basis. Without Twitter, I really don’t think I would be teaching today. Over the past 7 years that I have been using Twitter as part of my Professional Development, I have been rejuvenated by great conversations with people through a variety of chats and personal connections. I have tried to get educators involved in these chats but there is still a stigma that surrounds Twitter. I am going to change that stigma soon as I have a PD class ready to go in February with another colleague. I hope that people take a chance and come to the workshop to see how Twitter could benefit them, both personally and in their classroom.

What are your thoughts on collaboration? What have you noticed in your school with teachers that are not as connected as they could be? How do you help those teachers? Please feel free to leave your comments below. Let’s continue this conversation.

2015: One Word

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With the change in the year, comes a change in my mindset. I look at 2015 with a new perspective, new goal setting both personally and professionally and new challenges that I am ready to take on.

One goal that I have set for myself is to blog more and blog often. While I would love to challenge myself to a 365 day blog, I know that it won’t work. I decided to keep it simple. One post, once a week for one month. Hopefully that will excite me and push me to do more in the weeks and months that follow.

The first post is something that I have been following on Twitter over the past few days… One Word for 2015. Thinking of One Word to define this year is difficult, but not something that I can’t live by. I’ve decided that my word for 2015 is: DETERMINED. I am determined to be the best educator, father, husband, son and friend. I am determined to challenge myself daily and to reach for and surpass the goals that I have set for myself. I am determined to Be More Awesome!

What’s YOUR One Word? Leave a comment below or start your blog with that idea!