GoPro: My Newest Fashion Accessory

This is me today. I'm wearing a GoPro around my neck. I've received some odd looks from students and teachers. It feels a little clumsy. But today, it's my newest fashion accessory.

I recently had the honor of receiving the CUE Outstanding Emerging Educator award. It's an honor. And it's a bit odd. Many days I still feel like I'm thirteen (maybe this is why I enjoy hanging out with thirteen-year-olds so much). But it's cool. And I'm honored. It's been so fun for me to learn and grow as an educator and a technology user over the past three years.

As the recipient of this award, I'm nominated by CUE for the ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award. One of the requirements for that award is an "artifact that demonstrates one or more achievements in the learning environment, digital citizenship, or school leadership." And what exactly does that mean?? I have no idea. I think they're trying to be purposely vague. As I explored my resources, I realized that I was thinking too small. That this wasn't just about one student project; it was about the whole of my experience.

So I started brainstorming, but I got overwhelmed. I was already in the midst of creating my video entry for the award, and I was feeling insecure. I was feeling like whatever I did was either a) not going to be good enough or b) overtake my life. I didn't like either of those options. In the midst of these feelings, I vented to my administrators, who we're giving me a hard time for not doing my best. I finally just said, "Well, if I spend all of my time doing my best at this award, I'm not going to be able to do my best at teaching, and that's what I really care about!"

A few hours later, it hit me. I shouldn't try to fabricate this vision of the educator I am. I should just be the educator I am. I'd rather just do the things I do and love every day because those are the things that I think are going to make a difference, not a video I create.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I love that my days are filled with teaching. I love that yesterday I stopped class more than once in order to laugh with my kids. I love crafting lesson plans that bring in important content and the world in which we live. I love watching my students learn and explore and create. I love that today I read four sentences from each of my seventh graders, describing what they're most proud of so far this year. I love learning with my students.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I love that I teach half the day and then I get to do other things on my campus. I love that today I got to help a teacher create a video to help parents struggling with Class Dojo. I love that I get to blog about what I'm learning. I love that I get to "play" on Twitter and discover the things other teachers are learning. I love that I get to plan a film festival for our campus. I love that my students are constantly asking me about the film festival and pushing me to tell them everything. I love that I get to represent my school by presenting what we're doing at ed tech conferences. I love that my school supports me and my passions. I love that they give me the time in my schedule to do these things.

And so... I'm wearing a GoPro around my neck today and taping this typical Wednesday. I want the ISTE board to see the educator I really am. And honestly, I just don't want to spend hours creating another artifact that won't actually encourage my students learning in anyway. I want to be present for my students because that's where I'm supposed to be at this moment. And I love it.

So this is how my video will go:

1. Black screen that says, "I thought of all the things I could create to show the things I do, but in the end, I'd rather just do what I do."

2. A high speed version of my day.

That's it.

I'm thankful for the job I have and the lives I get to impact. I can't wait to have our all-school open house tonight to share with everyone the amazing things that are happening in my classroom! Hopefully the video I create after today we'll give even a few more people insight into the awesome people I work with every day.