I was recently asked a question: What do you feel is the biggest accomplishment in your career?
I started teaching in 2016. In 4 years, I've done a lot.
➟ I facilitated monthly professional development (to ELA teachers district wide) as a brand new, first year teacher because I deeply understood planning & data.
➟ I was recognized as Utah's English Teacher of the Year as a second-year teacher.
➟ I had an EdTech endorsement and was asked to pilot an online class.
➟ I've presented at (multiple) state-wide conferences (multiple times) on best practices in education & technology.
➟ I've used data-based practices and seen large amounts of learner growth as a result.
➟ I've taught 800+ students (many at-risk) & had countless important discussions (money, poverty, college, suicide, job application, racism, sexism abuse, safe sex).
➟ I've used all my k-12 skills and pivoted into Instructional Design (and found success there as well)
➟ I've worked on fascinating design/development projects with well-known companies and organizations.
I could have rattled off any of these, explained why I received the opportunity, why I viewed it as a milestone event for my career, and how I grew from it.
But, I mentioned none of those.
Instead, I talked about the day I was an adult education teacher and had to teach a man to factor. I was never good at math. My own learning disability, learned helplessness, poor support, etc. But, this man needed help. I went home, I learned all about factoring and algebra and equation and concepts I never grasped before. I asked my husband, I looked on the internet, and I did practice questions.
And, I returned the next evening and taught him. I taught him everything I had learned in a way that people who struggle with math could understand.
He said, 'Liz. I never got this before Never once in school. But, you know how to teach math." I responded with, "I never got it either. Thank you for helping me learn it."
I went home and felt so successful because I could learn and figure out how to teach anything. When asked about my greatest accomplishment, I talked about the feeling of knowing I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. And, how in that moment, my passion for learning regardless of subject matter was cemented.
I'm a learner that can help others learn and understand difficult concepts. I empathize with both the learner and the instructor. I can take hard things, things that I have previously viewed as impossible to grasp, and make them accessible.
That's why I'm an Instructional Designer.