Educational Epiphany Bridge Story

So, doing some reflecting and comtemplating in regards to impact that I can provide, have and currently sharing.

Part of this challenge I am currently working through right now with the One Funnel Away Challenge with Russell Brunson in order to find a particular audience, group and community to share with.

So, let me take you through my back story. The other day I shared on Archer’s TNT Classroom Podcast my Back Story to Education.

Within the podcast I shared my route / journey to a career in education as a teacher. From this point within the journey I want to take you into my particular niche I am trying to share, and make an impact with.

As mentioned within my podcast, I shared that I was not the typical student in school. In fact, I was a rather disengaged, remedial student, often found at the back of the room doodling or within resource room recieving extra support in order to understand basic concepts. School was a horrid experience for this fella! I recall tears often when rote concepts did not hit home, nor were understood. Often having feelings of remorse, dread and thoughts that I was actually stupid. I dreaded every moment, I dispised each day from 8:30 am to 3:15 pm until I could return home and get within my element on the ice, driveway or backyard rink. This was my happy place, my passion and my love.

I reflect and consider my experience through my route to this profession and always come back to this aforementioned notion. School sucked for me…period! I hated it because I didn’t feel valued, like I accomplished anything nor was moving in the right direction.

My desire my goal, my passion now is to elivate that notion for all students that are similar to the way I was within the school, classroom and hallways. I know the harsh, horrific feelings I had and despised those and I seen / see those external feelings on faces of students now. The external struggle was how do I do this, what means and or support can I provide to students feeling the same way I did? The internal struggle was if there is more then 1, 5, 10 + people how do I and can I help them all, because I don’t want others feeling the way I did. I want people to see value in themselves, in ways that are meaningful to each individual…not according to a report card or mark on an assignment / test (one of the reasons I have forgone marks within my classroom).

So, I hit this wall. The wall was plain and simple as this; 6-7 years ago I got my job as an educator, the contract the means of supporting my family and helping others…but, was I making the impact I wanted to have? The answer was no! I needed something that stood out…I needed to have that shiney new, creative, wild and crazy object that I could get kids hooked on! 5 years ago….I found it!

What was my epiphany?!? I remember going to a Microsoft Event 5 summers ago. I met Martha and Dustin Jez at Hamilton, Brock University Campus and was instantly inspired, engaged and walked away that day transformed! I became aware of the the incredible options Microsoft provided for ALL students to have a Fair Chace in Learning. Not just a fair chance but a desire for further learning, a passion to dive into things deeper at a high engagement level. This event, this moment I walked away a different teacher! I not only walked away inspired….but I also had that wild and crazy object for the kids I wanted to connect with!

I always tried hard to build rapport, find a way to make things fun for my students in prior years, but that day things drastically shifted in my world! I now had a means to provide my students with a vast assortment of options to explore learning in meaningful ways for everyone that sparked the BIG-E; engagement in everyone! It was coding…which has now become my happy place and passion project. I have even held multiple Coding Events, Hosted Multiple Workshops for kids and still learn each and everyday! Coding provides limitless learning and multiple entry / exit points!

Fast forward to five years, in my tenth year as an educator and my desire is to become that guy, that teacher, that person for everyone to come to for comfort, support and most of all to be inspired as Martha and Dustin did for me then, and continue to do for ALL today through coding clubs, micro:bit / scratch projects that connect to curriculum in fun and meaningful ways!

The plan was simple, start coding within the classroom! So, I began with the free application; Scratch (which is part of my Coding Funnel I am offerring), then dove into a physical product; Micro:bits (also offerred within the Funnel), explored multiple other apps, programs, websites and platforms (all included and shared by various means within the Funnel).

The conflicts during this process were many! Fellow Educators did not see the value nor curricular connections coding offerred students…nor seen the BIG-E option that ENGAGEMENT factor! I became an outcast, I became someone who did not cover content, was not doing students justice, did not teach them anything, just played all day. But…I knew better! Administration contantly questioned, I willingly demonstrated…started to gain ground. Parents questioned, I began sharing on social media…kids went home excited to share the Maker Style projects they innovated and designed using coding as the means. Parents, colleauges, admistration began seeing the true value and most of all the engagement students started having with learning. It was game based innovative learning at its best! Suffice to say, people came around…today I still run into people who don’t see the true value, but I know the process is part of their journey as was mine, so I always reflect and say patience, patience internally knowing in time they will come along too!

My Achievement; a few years ago, we partook in The Hour of Code as a classroom, and two years ago I launched an annual event at my new school; Lakewood Elementary’s Hour of Code with something near and dear to my heart…Girls Can Code! (I have two amazing identical twin daughters whom I want to ensure have limitless options to explore in life). This event hit the local papers, and even reached the Ontario Public School Board Associations Winter 2019 Issue. This year three incredible ladies took the reigns and helped host Lakewood’s Second Hour of Code Event; seen here. My message is growing, my vehicle is gaining momentum!

My transformation, was the achievement this year when Lucah, Gabby and Emma felt the desire to lead my passion project, take the reigns, reflect on the privious year event (which they all took part in), innovate, design and implement a stronger, deeper and better version of Lakewood’s Hour of Code….even better, they offered and insisted that they get to run it next year too in grade 7. Transformed?!?! Yes….indeed my passion and message became the voice these three incredible ladies obtained and want to continue.

This  year another project that I annually take part in close; Write to Give, but these three ladies seen my love of empathy for others in this project and also pushed hard to ensure the writing of the books continue….so much so that they created a green screen video to the Founders of Write to Give stating why they needed to continue this project….not for them but…ready for it?!!? The pushed for me…this was impactful, this was when I realized I had made an impact…it is because of these girls that I am continuing my Coding journey to make a large impact! The two events led me to believe more and more in myself….that I was making a difference with my passions, and why today I am steering towards a large scale message through this One Funnel Away Challenge!

The internal transformation inspired me to see beyond the classroom / school walls….I love my friend Brian Aspinall’s quote to; “Learn like there was no box to think outside of”. From the girls this year I now see that walls do not exist with coding! There is infact limitless, timeless restrictions for Coding and Computational Thinking!

Thanks for listening!

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