Two years ago, I received an email from the curriculum office that has changed my life: "Pittcon Science Teacher Workshops." I knew about Pittcon because of a family member so I opened the email. I am forever grateful that I didn't skip over that email because it was the turning point for my career and my classroom. I attended a five hour PD about hands on chemistry lessons that I could do in the classroom without any special equipment. Some of the experiments I already knew, such as self-inflating balloons, but it was so much more. This was the first time I connected with teachers outside of my own school district. I also received a gift certificate to purchase science equipment for the classroom. Free supplies? Just for going to a professional development where I actually learned something? So began a beautiful relationship.
After that day, I started opening every email that came from that particular colleague. I joined her and a group of teachers, referred to as the Math and Science Partnership (MSP), the following summer for a two week Biology program at Drexel University which led to my qualifying for an additional teaching certificate in Biology. Besides the content, I was surrounded by educators of all backgrounds. Some were young and newer to teaching like myself but others were wise with experience. Through discussions during this summer program, I began to gain more confidence in myself and my abilities. The following year at school, I stopped worrying so much about the paperwork (which I still make sure to get in) and more about my students. I stopped following the textbook script word for word and started to actually teach. Wow, what a difference. When I started enjoying it more, my students did as well. I continued to meet with my summer PD group multiple times throughout the year and each time I gained more ideas to bring back to my classroom.
The next turning point came when I received an email from the district's listserv about the Google Education Summit that would be taking place on Temple's campus. I was so excited until I saw the price tag. It felt like someone was reading my thoughts because before that day ended, I received another email from MSP announcing that they had six tickets and it would be first come/first serve. After spending the weekend with a group of Google Education Trainers and Google Certified Teachers, one of my MSP friends said "You should really go for the next level. You have so much knowledge to share." I went home and decided to take the series of exams to become a Google Educator.
Now, months later I received yet another life changing email. This week, I received an email from Google inviting me to attend the upcoming Google Teacher Academy in Austin Texas. This was my second time applying to the program and I was really nervous waiting to see if I'd be accepted. At 7:25pm the email finally arrived. I can't wait to continue this journey when I step onto the plane in December and head to Austin for a few days.