The ISTE Make It Happen Award

A few days ago I had the honor of receiving ISTE’s Make It Happen award at the MACE conference. I was nominated for my effective use of technology both in the classroom (creating awesome Youtube videos, encouraging a wide range of tech tools, implementing engaging writing strategies using technology, etc.) and outside of the classroom (coaching the FLL robotics team, starting the Books for Backpacks initiative, advocating for my students by being part of a wide range of technology committees in the district, etc.). Most importantly I was recognized for my ability to make learning fun and keep the kids engaged in their learning.
It was a privilege to get recognized for the work I do in and out of the classroom. I can’t describe the experience of walking in front of an auditorium full of people and getting affirmation that I’m good at what I do.
I’m not good at sharing stuff like this. I do a terrible job “tooting my own horn” as they say. But I think it’s important to share accomplishments like this as often as possible. Not for our own self-gratification, but to change the narrative about public education.
Every week I see negative stories on Facebook and in the news about a teacher who did something they weren’t supposed to or a rant about some educational policy that the poster/news commentator disagrees with. That’s not the narrative I want surrounding my profession. I see too many skilled educators around me to believe that that is the most important story to be told right now.
Unless we go out and share the amazing things happening in our classrooms, someone else is going to tell the story of education. We either have to accept someone else’s story or tell our own.
On that note, I didn’t get my award because I’m the only great teacher out there. I received the award because I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who tolerate my crazy, support my ideas, and help keep me grounded when necessary. Nothing I do would be possible without a strong network of amazing educators.
That’s the narrative I want to tell. What’s yours?