Looking Back and Moving Forward

At the end of my fifth year of teaching I decided that it was time to consider getting my Master’s Degree. I had spent two years teaching in North Carolina, three years teaching in Utah, and had just moved back home to Michigan with my family. Based upon the recommendation of my brother-in-law, I decided to look at the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. When I applied for graduate school I was asked to write a short description of my career goals.

When I began my coursework in the MAET program at Michigan State, I thought that I had a pretty solid understanding of what technology use should look like in the classroom. Through the various school districts that I had worked for I had gone through several professional development sessions on how to incorporate technology into my classroom. I quickly learned that all of the training and the ideas that I had only served as a means to replace things that were already going on in schools, but did nothing to enhance the education experience.

Early on my goals were to be a technology leader at my school: to have the ability to train other teachers within my school to incorporate technology into their classrooms. I also wanted to be able to utilize various technologies within my own classroom to improve and enhance student learning. I believed  that technology was not the end-all-be-all in education, but could serve as a means of improving upon what we already do as well as open up gateways that were previously unavailable to those students.

As I am in my last full semester as a graduate student at Michigan State and reflecting upon my earlier goals, those goals have slightly changed. I still desire to share my knowledge with other teachers at my school. I absolutely hope to use the skills that I have acquired to enable my students to have a wide variety of learning experiences that they may not have had otherwise. What has changed is that these things are not the end game for me. I hope to be able to take what I have learned and have a bigger influence on education, not just at the school level, but at the district level and maybe even at a state level one day in my career.

Looking back at my original goals for this program, I now know that I was only looking at a smaller part of a much bigger picture. My goals were only focused on the now, or maybe even the near future, when they should have been looking at the big picture from the beginning.