I live my life by this mindset: If you want something, go get it. If you want something done, do it yourself. If you live that way, you should never have anything to complain about. I've never been the type of person to depend on others. I've always tried to be self sufficient and when I do ask for help I do so expecting to learn from the person helping so that I don't ever have to ask again. If there is something I need or want, I work at it until I get it.
With that said, I earned my Bachelor's degree back in May. It took me about five years to do so, but I did it. I did it while working full time (most of the time) and raising three kids. I couldn't have done it without the support of a loving, selfless wife and an amazing scholarship. Both my lady, and the scholarship I earnestly pursued to get and work(ed) diligently to keep. I've been married for almost 10 years, we have absolutely no debts, and I graduated without owing anyone a single cent. Some of you might think I've been handed what I have, but then you wouldn't really know me and that's okay. I'm a go getter, but I'm also a team player and I know how to kick back and relax when I need to. I don't complain (except to my wife... of course). I make things happen and I have little patience for those who sit back and let life pass them by. Don't mistake my words as arrogance, I'm simply building you up with my life experiences to prove my point. Which is to make your own life happen within your capabilities, work hard when you need to and have fun as often as you can.
I prefer to surround myself with people who have a positive mental attitude (PMA) and know how to get after it when it comes to taking care of business (TCB). I'm terrible with money (that's no secret), so I married someone who is great with it. My wife can rub two pennies together and get $500. She is amazing and my proudest accomplishment, if you could call it that. I say this to prove my point to those of you who make excuses instead of going after what you want.
The United States offers equal opportunity to all citizens, but it's up to the citizen to take hold of those opportunities. Some have to work harder than others, but no one has an excuse. There is so much to grab a hold of in this country. You can't change where you came from, but you can definitely change where you're going. Personally, this can be applied to every area of my life. I've made lots of mistakes, but I've learned from most of them and I'm happy with how my life as a grown man has taken shape. So keeping to the point of this blog, I'll be relating the rest of this post to teaching. Whew!
While in college at Northern Arizona University almost all of my teaching courses were taught with the assumption that we would be utilizing technology in our classrooms to the fullest extent. We had access to much of the latest technology available to educators and at the very least we were shown where to look if it wasn't available. I'd say the one thing that stood out to me the most was the "smart board". This is basically a 90" big screen with all the capabilities of an ipad. You can connect just about anything up to it with proper cables, etc. Within the classroom however, the computer is obviously the most used and suggested device. The board is interactive so that the students are engaged to cooperate. For example, the teacher can create anything they can on a computer, but they can also touch the screen with a "magic" pen to explore, create, browse, etc. It's really quite amazing, and obviously ridiculously expensive.
So after being able to use one throughout my college career, there was no way I could be satisfied teaching without one. So what did I do? I approached my supervisor within the first week of being hired and to make a long story short, I got one! It took a few months to jump over all the hurdles and complete the necessary requirements, but I did it, and my Promethean Activboard was installed last week. Check out my students in action just this morning:
Just look at the size of that thing! I'm tempted to go to my classroom on the weekends and watch football! I cannot even imagine having something like this when I was in elementary school. If you look closely, notice the student (who has Down syndrome) is holding the "magic" wand and manipulating his way through a lesson. We use this technology everyday, and just a month or so ago I also got an iPad for my classroom.
Some of you may be thinking I work in an affluent district at a school that has wealthy parents. You'd be wrong. I work in a district that has suffered major budget cuts, in a city that has an extremely high unemployment rate. The school I work at is a Title One school on the other side of the tracks (just the way I like it). My classroom is in a building that is about 70 years old. I'm a first year teacher, and I teach Special Education.
If you want something, go get it. If you want something done, do it yourself.
With that said and this week being Thanksgiving; I'm thankful for my family, my career, my school, my students, coworkers, supervisors and the opportunities that I have been able to seize. Carpe diem! PMA all day!