How I Got Here & Paying It Forward

I graduated from college with a BA in Psychology and started a Masters in Elementary Education right away. I completed most of my coursework and went through my student teaching. I spent my first summer teaching summer school and applying for every elementary teaching position within a 50 mile radius. I was having no luck in the public schools so in the beginning of August I started calling Catholic schools in the area. One of the schools I called was Saint Walter School. The principal, Mary Lloyd, called me on a Friday afternoon as I was driving in the city to go visit a friend. She asked me if I knew anything about technology, we had a discussion and I went in for an interview a few days later. I was offered a technology and library assistant position, and that's where my career in education truly began. I was in that position for a year, and the following year Mrs. Lloyd created a new position for me as an elementary technology teacher. I was so grateful for Mary taking a chance and investing in me. I didn't realize it at the time, but she changed my career and life path forever. While I was at Saint Walter I worked very closely with Cindy Fairchild and Julie Olzen, the technology teacher/director and librarian respectively. Together they taught me so much! Cindy taught me that growth was important, but it is equally important to consider the ripple effect it can create and sometimes to be cautious. Julie taught me the importance of empathy, kindness, and caring for all of our students.

While at Saint Walter I began and eventually completed my Master of Education in Technology in Education at National-Louis with a wonderful cohort. Many of the people I am still very good friends with, and we support each other on a regular basis. They supported me in so many ways and even helped me to become more involved in Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) and even join Twitter. Still teaching at the Catholic school I started an ELL endorsement program where I met another group of great educators. One those educators, Kelly Hernandez, helped me to get a public school job in her district by recommending me for a technology specialist opening they had. Her kindness put me on the path to be able to truly support myself, but also opened my eyes to the value of relationships and networks.

That same year I began volunteering for the ICE Conference Committee. I was able to grow my network of educators, gain so much experience, be a small part of something awesome, and make a whole bunch of new friends. I was able to do this because of an invitation from Daniel Rezac, one of my masters cohort friends. While at the ICE Conference that year I again grew my network and met so many new people. One of those people was Amanda Walsh who would later in the year help me by recommending me for my current role as an Instructional Technology Coach in her district.

I have worked very hard to get to where I am now, and to continue to work hard to grow. But I realize that I owe so much of where I am today to so many of the people around me. The people that I've mentioned in this post are just a drop in the bucket of all of the people that have helped and supported me.

We all came from somewhere. And when we first started out we weren't perfect, in fact we were all probably far from it. But, along the way there are people in our lives and experiences that have helped shape us in to who we are today. I know that I am who I am today because of the experiences that I have had and the people that have helped me along the way. I am so grateful. Because I have realized this I am continually trying to support others in the same way that I have been supported. I am a huge believer in paying kindness and support forward.

Who has helped you get to where you are today? How are you helping others in the same way?

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