“A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.”- Anonymous
Significance When I was a kid I was by myself a lot so I had a wild imagination. I would set up all the stuffed animals I could find behind a table and then pretend to teach them. I remember getting a box of old books the school’s library was going to throw out when I was in third grade. That was the beginning of my teaching career and didn’t realize it as a young child. I had such trials and tribulations as a young girl and adolescent that I felt like I wanted to work with youth possibly like me to show them a new way to survive and get through school by being passionate about something that is mighty and healing: Dance. Many people have asked me why I don’t open a studio instead of working in the public school. My answer is, “Because I won’t be able to reach all the students that need me the most.” I am not only a teacher in my classroom. I am a mother, sister, friend, dancer, fan, therapist, counselor, and most of all a cheerleader. This course has allowed me to thrive and do what I love to do to better provide engaging lessons for my students. Designing and implementing new or improved lessons in my dance class has truly been worthwhile. I was able to present opportunities for my students to develop deeper learning using 21st century skills. Increasing their engagement and motivation has truly been the value looking at how technology, digital learning, and social media can enhance a dance class.
Limitations Being an educator of a dance program with five levels and developing curriculum and instructing my classes, I also have to produce an annual spring production. With this production comes fundraising, parent “Booster” meetings at night, dance trips, after school rehearsal, choreographing fresh and new dances each year, editing music and videos, buying costumes, and the list goes on and on. It has been a true testament to my ability to manage my time wisely and do what I needed to do. Sometimes I have felt there is not enough time in the day to do everything that is required for me to do but I manage. Somehow becoming the student again has helped me connect more with the adolescent teens in my classes. Although there were several times I sat at my computer eyes glazed over and wanting to throw in the towel I pushed on and continued on my journey. I realized so much over this period and am truly blessed that I am able to continue to create and share my ideas. Through the frustration, tears, and unsureness I was able to get through it and am very proud of my accomplishments.
Conclusion Because I am in the performing arts, I am constantly defending my class and its importance. I feel like the evidence collected with my project will not only defend my position at my site but the position of the program I have created at the school. My students have benefited from my participation and I truly feel like a role model, whereas before I did not. I feel that my students view me as a student and lifelong learner and that it important to show when you are an educator. It has been a pleasure to be able to develop and maintain my own curriculum. I am most grateful now to get to share and show what great things my student are accomplishing and learning.
In closing, I think the most important tool that I am taking away from this is that there is always a way to change and improve. With action and curriculum research we can hold our own studies for improvement in our classroom that benefits me, my students, the school, and the profession of education as a whole.
“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”- 7 habits of highly effective people