Where do you see yourself in five years? This is a question that we are often asked when interviewing for a new job, and it is a question that I always struggle with. I think the reason that I struggle with it is likely because there isn’t really a specific position that I see myself wanting to hold in the coming years. I merely hope that whatever I am doing, I am the best me that I can possibly be at that job. Whether I am a technology leader, a Spanish teacher, a football coach, or my career path takes me somewhere entirely different I know that I will continue to hold myself to an incredibly high standard and will remain critical of all that I do with the end goal of being the best that I can possibly be. As my graduation approaches I will no longer be required to meet deadlines or complete assignments. I will be responsible for my own education in the upcoming years of my career. While I have no idea where my career will take me, I do know that there are a few areas that I would like to focus on.
My first area of focus will be in making my classroom the best classroom that it can possibly be. As time passes and technology plays a larger role in the education of this country’s young people, I think that they will be asked to solve greater problems than students have ever been asked before. They need to be provided with these opportunities in the classroom, so that once they have graduated they are prepared to enter the workforce and solve even bigger problems. To do this, I think that students need to be provided the options to communicate and collaborate with students globally. Teaching a world language, I am always looking for ways to expose my students to people globally, as well as introduce them to other cultures. In terms of setting up something like penpals, there are several services already available such as https://www.mylanguageexchange.com/penpals.asp. I have done penpals with my students before, but would really like to create a way for them to interact over something like a Google Hangout or Zoom type of setting where they could collaborate on a common project together with students from another school in another country. At this point I have yet to find any such service, so would like to learn how to go about creating something that would meet my needs and provide students with real life experiences. This would make my Spanish language class more meaningful to them, reinforce the importance of learning a second language, and provide them with real world and hands on job training.
Another area that I would like to continue to grow in is sharing what I have learned about the integration of technology in the classroom. While I have yet to spend a significant amount of time exploring research, my experience in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at Michigan State University has led me to believe that the integration of technology is essential in improving our educational system and preparing our students to compete in and contribute to a global economy.
In my current experience as an educator I have witnessed many teachers try to integrate technology into the classroom. While some teachers are doing great things, many seem to be stuck in the substitution state of the SAMR model. They are using technology, but only using it to replace old methods while not really doing anything to enhance learning. One thing that I am deeply interested in is Learning Management Systems such as MyHaikuClass to allow a hybrid blend of face-to-face and online learning. I think hybridized learning allows for an increase in project-based learning and provides for chances to solve problems and to get our students creating.
Another learning priority that I have is in the area of technology leadership. As I have already mentioned I want to share what I have learned and continue to learn with others. Often times when teachers are presented with a new idea in the classroom there is a collective eye roll. “Great, one more thing that I am being mandated to do.” While I do not think it is healthy to mandate teachers to use technology in their classroom, I do think it is important to show them how incorporating technology into their classrooms can enhance the great things that they are already doing. Fortunately, Oakland Schools has started to make technology integration training a priority and has begun to hire integration specialists to put on a wide variety of workshops for teachers, which can be found here. I would love the opportunity to share what I know with other teachers by speaking at some of these workshops and trainings.
In thinking about my future learning goals, I have concluded that staying on top and learning new things will be difficult. As a student, I have to purposefully set aside time each week for my learning. When I am not working to complete an assignment or meet another deadline I think it will be much easier to neglect learning new things. I must make sure that I stay proactive in setting aside time for my learning once my formal education as ended.
SAMR Model [Online image]. Retrieved February 26, 2017 from http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html.
Technology Is Transformational [Online image]. Retrieved February 26, 2017 from https://www.bamradionetwork.com/quoted/viewquote/742-technology-will-never-replace-great-teachers-but-technology-in-the-hands-of-great-teachers-is-transformational-gcouros-fetcexe-fetc.