Monday, July 21, 2014

 Data.  Assessment.  Rigor.  Grit.  The key words circle around instruction like buzzards, weave in and out of classrooms, and hang heavy on even little ones who have only recently stopped taking naps and drinking from sippy cups.  Educators have a heaviness that constricts daily as standards and students are pushed to breaking points.  The voices compare our districts to Finland, to China, to Singapore and declare we are sub-par in the race to the top.  Run.  Faster.  Push harder.  Defeat sets in quickly to even the most dedicated.

What’s a teacher to do?  Where is the life?  How can air be breathed into instruction that has lost its voice?  As an educator who has felt the vice tightening, I struggle to fight for the creativity that makes me human, to swim in the deep.  I long for ways to implement the necessary standards while reaching all students, especially the disconnected ones.  This year, I found a voice that speaks to these needs and breathes life into my profession.   Discovery Education. 

I became a DEN star through Discovery Education just this year after a conference that highlighted their efforts in connecting passionate educators, and providing creative methods to deliver and display information for teachers and students alike.  Soon after becoming a DEN star, I applied for and was accepted to the Summer Institute.  I anticipated a week filled with amazing courses solely about Discovery Education’s resources, and the usual pushing of wares that happens at conferences.  But that didn't happen.  I didn't expect to learn how to film a Green Screen production, or write a grant, or hula hoop for the first time, but I did.  The people of the DEN made the conference.  

They shared with me, brought me alongside them, and made me a part of the community.  My Professional Learning Network has grown deeply.  The people of the DEN (educators world-wide) will answer any question I have, and if they don’t know the answer, they will find someone who does.  Rounds and rounds of applause, shout outs and standing ovations go to Discovery Education for creating this strong community of passionate, creative, connected educators without feeling the need to push an agenda.  You bring dignity to our profession.