2016: A Reflection
Note: I wrote this post shortly after the new year, but as with most things around that time I got too busy and failed to post. I went back through and read what I wrote and realized – though I meant to reflect on my year, my post sounded more like a shameless plug for the MAET program. That being said, I decided to post anyway (because, after all, this is my blog), but I also wanted to post because MAET is still so prevalent in my life. Though I am not currently in class, I find that my life and career have been greatly impacted by this program and I look forward to seeing where it takes me.
As 2016 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to reflect on my journey through the MAET program and how it has affected my career as an educator. (Note: there will be subsequent blog posts following that offer more detail and insight as to what technologies my students have used throughout the semester).
First, I wanted to note all the ways that the MAET program has impacted me, both personally and professionally.
- I have become a better learner and, therefore, I believe a better teacher
- I have become a greater risk taker in both my personal and professional life
- I have expanded my social network and no longer think of my networks as exclusively personal or exclusively professional
- I think more critically about the content I consume and the content I generate
- I continue looking for ways to enhance my learning and that of my students
Now this list could go on, but these aforementioned qualities are some of the highlights. My journey in this program began a little over a year ago and almost on a whim. I knew that I wanted to go back to school and earn my masters degree, but wasn’t sure how, when or in what content. I had spoken with a friend that formerly earned her masters degree (from the overseas MAET program) and decided – two summers, in Ireland, to earn my masters degree – it was a no brainer.
I had often watched coworkers struggle to take graduate courses and teach full time – this program seemed like the golden solution. Though my interest in the program was sparked by convenience, this journey would become one of the most valuable in my career.
In four weeks abroad, I met amazing educators from around the world, I formed bonds with locals, and learned from some of the most caring professors I could have ever imagined. The journey, however, did not end when I touched back down in the States last July – I feel the presence of this program with me every day.
Every day I check the PLN (personal learning network) I have developed over various social media outlets and seek content I can consume or publish.
Every day I speak to classmates that I worked with abroad and we encourage and support one another as we continue navigating our careers.
Every day I diligently go through my lesson plans seeking ways to integrate what I have learned, read and researched.
Every day I question myself and ask – Was this my best effort? Did I make a difference in a student’s life today? What can I do tomorrow to make this better?
The MAET program is not just a 3 year, 4 weeks a summer program – it is a pedagogical shift in thinking, it is a new perspective, it is an opportunity to develop yourself for your students.
As I continue growing as an educator, my personal life has developed just as much. I am more aware of the technologies I use, the content I generate and consume, and the way in which I interact with the world. I have learned to take risks as a teacher, but also as a human being. I have learned that growth and adaptation are a necessity in all areas of life. I have become a more passionate person.
As 2016 comes to a close I can see all the ways my life has changed and developed, and that all began with my decision to join the MAET program at Michigan State University.
Let the countdown to Galway 2017 begin…