A Challenging Summer

It’s here – the end of summer.

One of the best summers I’ve ever had to be exact. Since joining the “Twitterverse” last spring and seeing what all the amazing educators around the country have been doing, I made a pact with my self, my only-talk-to-strangers-if-they-talk-to-you-first, keep-the-doors-locked-and-the-curtains-closed self: be the daring, adventurous person in your own life that you want your students to be in theirs.

I did that this summer and I hope to continue it for the rest of my life. Some experiences were more daring than others, but each challenged me in such a deep, personal way.

Here were my most memorable professional and personal experiences of the summer:

  •  Caught the I-want-to-connect learning bug and went to the “iConnect iLearn” conference in Hutchinson, edcampFWTX (over 5 hours away), the inaugural edcampKS and Podstock13 in Wichita
  • Met so many AMAZING educators from my PLN in person – met in lobbies to continue conversations, had brunch, went to dinner, and learned more about them at a Tweet-up
  • Made a spontaneous decision to move up my trip to Mexico when I realized how much of my summer had vanished from all the school planning excitement
  • Tried scallops and lamb chops after watching it being served on countless episodes of Hell’s Kitchen- sooooooooo good!
  • Let a lemur crawl on me and parakeets walk on my head as I fed them on my first visit to the Tanganyika Wildlife Park
  • Started a personal blog to share my stories, ideas, and reflections

What did you do this summer to challenge yourself? What daring adventures did you tackle?

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

When I Grow Up

When I was growing up, I told my primary teachers that I wanted to be a nurse. Not just any nurse either. I wanted to be the “Shots Lady.” Why? Because every kid has to go through that agonizing pain of getting their shots when they enter school and it was one of the only careers I had really seen growing up. Nurses that gave shots were just mean bullies with a needle.

Then, I changed my mind and never let go. I wanted to be a teacher. Why? Because when I was young, it was another career that I thought I understood and experienced on a daily basis. My dad was a math teacher and after school I would walk over to his classroom and spend time writing on the chalkboard, sitting in the desks and pretending I was the teacher. My poor little sister experienced the worst of it as my one and only student, suffering through countless worksheets and homework assignments marked up with a big red “F” and scolded with the dreaded phrase, “go pull a color.” (To be fair and speaking as her wiser older sister who only cared about her little sister’s future, she totally deserved them.)

I doubt that very many nurses or teachers truly find satisfaction, happiness, and enjoyment in torturing kids as part of their careers. In fact, as teachers, it’s the opposite that gives us hope in our profession. It’s when we help, comfort, listen, and celebrate with kids that we can be reminded why we chose this profession – to make a positive impact in the lives of our students.

THAT is what we need to pass on to our students – the desire to make a positive impact, no matter what career path they choose.

So here it is, my first blog post and something I need to be reminded of as school quickly approaches for a new year.

You want to be a nurse, kids? Remember you have the ability to help kids when they’re sick and try to keep them healthy.

You want to be a teacher, Kayla? Remember you have the ability to give kids new hope and opportunities to make a positive impact EVERY SINGLE DAY.