When I first entered the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at Michigan State University, I had two personal and three professional goals that I wanted to achieve as part of the program.
My two personal goals at the start of the program were to:
- stay relevant to my students, and
- remain highly qualified as a teacher by never closing my mind to learning new things.
My three professional goals were:
- to advance my provisional teaching certificate to a professional teaching certificate, and
- learn how to find and stay updated on new technology trends and tools, and
- explore ways to protect mine and my students’ information that is stored online.
Throughout the MAET program over the last two years, I have thought often about the goals I set at the beginning. Some of those goals have changed and some have stayed the same. Currently, the goals I have set are:
- to stay culturally and personally relevant with my students, and
- maintaining a growth mindset (using failure as a tool for growth), and
- staying up to date with new technology and understanding how to integrate it into my various classroom situations.
Staying culturally and personally relevant to my students is probably one of the most important things to me as a teacher, and that is why it is still one of my goals. I say that because being relevant allows me to build genuine relationships with my students based on shared likes and experiences. My students bring their own life and tech experiences with them into my classroom, and those experiences affect the way they interact and learn. Understanding those experiences and perhaps even living some of them myself makes it easier for me to build those relationships that make students feel safe and cared about. Many of my students know that I am an avid video gamer because I take the time to ask about their hobbies, and when they share that they like gaming, I spill the beans that I do too! This has led to some rich conversations about favorite games and gaming platforms.
The goal of remaining highly qualified via learning has been adapted and reworded into the idea of maintaining a growth mindset. Learning, failing, growing, changing…those are all things that I now embrace and even encourage in myself and in my students. Being the best teacher means being willing to learn and adapt.
Staying up to date with, and learning how to, integrate technology into my class has also traveled with me from the beginning of the program to the end. Technology is a tool, but a tool that changes very quickly. It is still important to me to read about and stay up to date on new and emerging educational technology tools, as well as have the knowledge and ability to assess the affordances and constraints of that technology as it relates to my classroom and mine and my students’ needs.