Looking back on education in 2016: Things to be thankful for

What did the teaching and education bring in 2016, and what to look forward to in 2017.

As the semester closes and the year ends, I have time to reflect and appreciate my profession. I am thankful to have opportunities in a variety of roles in education. Each setting offers different challenges, but each stretches me to consider the transformation occurring across at all levels.

My high school setting offers a glimpse of technology’s impact in a very structured system. So much of k-12 education is dictated by factors other than academics. In addition, accountability is heavily weighted on the institution rather than the student. This demands a true understanding of the positives and pitfalls technology programming offers. Experiencing the year-to-year integration of ideas at this level allows me to see impacts and issues that other educators don’t.

My face-to-face classroom work at the community college level exposes me to so many unique individuals. I love the variety of people that I come in contact with and the perspectives they all bring to the classroom. I particularly enjoy helping older adults re-acclimate to the academic setting.  This semester I will be instructing a blended class for the first time. I am a vigorous proponent of this model of coursework, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to lead the class. I’m especially curious to see how the format impacts the relational dynamic between teacher and student.

Finally, my work online at the collegiate level gives me a chance to fully embrace technology’s presence in higher education. My experience over the last 3 years has challenged me to think about my practice and how it has to translate away from me being at the center of a classroom. I have been forced to address habits of correspondence, tone of writing, and manner of directing students in the online platform. I have grown as an individual throughout the process.

I’m also thankful for this space at eCampus News.  My role here pushes me to stay abreast of trends in education that are taking place outside of my classroom. This also serves as a reflection space for me to hone my perspective on education’s transformation. Teaching can be an isolating profession; it offers a daily grind that can be all-consuming. Taking time to see the bigger mission, and to question certain parts of it, is not easy. My writing allows me to do that.

As I stare down Christmas Break, I feel thankful for all of the places that allow me to grow as an educator and thinker. I am blessed by these institutions and look forward to all the new opportunities for growth.

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