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Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Daring Dozen...Part 2

It was great writing the first half of my daring dozen list. It made me focus on people I have been lucky to encounter who have inspired my love and passion for teaching. I realize that my list could easily go on and on....Here are numbers 7-12 of my daring dozen, teachers who are doing amazing things in their own corner of the world. 

7) Silvia Tolisano AKA Langwitches: I met Silvia only a few months ago, but in a short time, she has made a large impact on me. She doesn't know it, but I have adopted her as my mentor. She and I have similar jobs at similar schools. I met her serendipitously at FETC. I had only recently started my blog. I don't think I would have connected with her had I not started blogging, as I don't know that I would have paid attention or known to leave a comment on her blog. 
Since starting my job as tech coordinator, almost 2 years ago, I have spent a lot of time teaching and tutoring other adults to use all types of technology applications. Of course, I've learned plenty myself in the process. But Silvia is the first person who has actually taught me. And I can not believe how much she has taught me in a short period of time. I've learned a great deal through her excellent blog, not only have I learned from reading it, going back again and again, but I've been amazed and grateful for her generosity in encouraging me as a new blogger and mentioning and linking to my blog. It was Silvia who told me to join twitter and encouraged her network to welcome me. I've learned so much there, and who knows if I would have discovered it otherwise. When I went to visit her at her school, Silvia generously sat and taught me, much in the way I teach the teachers at my school,  so many useful things: google reader, gmail, google docs, igoogle. She shared with me the idea for the afterschool blogging group she had started, which I immediately copied at my own school and which is now the highlight of my week. Having someone in a similar position, who goes through similar challenges, also makes me feel less alone. 
I find her to be quite brilliant, and hope she realizes what a difference she is making, not only at her own school, but at my school as well! I'm sure she has impacted many teachers and students through her blog and the work she is doing. 

8) Fredda Kaplan. I used to work with Fredda at Domincan University in San Rafael, CA. We taught a technology integration course for pre-service elementary and middle school teachers. Fredda is the tech coordinator at the Brandeis Hillel Day School in San Rafael. It's funny, because when we worked together at Dominican, I used to jokingly say to her, "I want your job." (meaning her job at Brandeis Hillel) In one of those strange "be careful what you wish for" types of things that happen in life, I got almost her exact job when I moved to Jacksonville, even down to the detail of it being a Jewish Day School. Fredda is an artist who went into teaching, and she transfers that creative energy fully into her job. The work she brings forth from students is simply amazing, and I've used so many of her ideas and projects with my students. 

9) Melinda Kolk. Melinda is the Director of Professional Development at Tech4Learning. Tech4Learning is a company that makes, in my opinion, some of the best software available for education. They are a company that strikes me as having a true passion for education and, more importantly, understanding what education is all about. I was amazed when I met Melinda at FETC, and she told me that she wasn't a former teacher. Tech4Learning has really well-developed resources for teachers and is incredibly responsive to teacher needs. I feel that through the things she does in her position at T4L, Melinda is really paving the way for the changes that are happening in education. She presents at many of the edtech conferences around the country, and also impacts educators in that way. 

10) Nomy Szoychen. Nomy is a Judaic Studies teacher at my school. Nomy thinks so far "outside the box" that I don't think she could even find the box! She is an artist who truly approaches teaching as a craft. Every time I see her, she is overflowing with some new idea or project or some new "amazing" thing she has discovered online. I just love her enthusiasm for teaching.

11) Edith Horovitz. Yet another teacher at my school. As I'm writing this, I'm realizing how many great teachers I am blessed to be around. Edith couldn't be called a "tech reformer, " she is one who approaches tech as something that must be conquered, but I am sure it is not her great love. Here is why she makes my daring dozen: She LOVES her students with all her heart. That may not sound daring, most teachers love their students, right? But, Morah Eta is different. She seems to live for them, not in a pathetic way, like someone who doesn't have a life, but in the way of someone who was born to be doing what she is doing. She shares all of herself with them, all the time. She sings with them, dances with them, takes them to her house for breakfast...she has created the Mitzvah Program, a service learning project which our middle school students participate in throughout their middle school years. As for technology, Edith is so thrilled every time she learns or figures out something new, she truly delights in learning. She has been one of my best students, as well as someone from whom I have learned a great deal. 

Number 12....There are many more people to whom I could give this last spot. It's hard to choose, and I don't want to inadvertently leave anyone out (not that anyone reads this anyway...even the people I wrote about for the first daring dozen post and told I wrote about them,  didn't read it. ) But for the last space, I am going to award it to myself. I hope that doesn't come across the wrong way. But I do believe that I am a reformer in education, and that this is what I am meant to be doing. Let me tell you, it brings with it plenty of frustration and self-doubt. But I believe that meeting these other 11 people was no random accident, that it is not just luck, but that I am supposed to be where I am, doing what I am doing, at least for now. I like to believe that I, too, am making a difference. 

1 comment:

Jewlearn-it said...

You've got that right. Very often I do lose the box!
Thanks for your "amazing" comment. I also consider you part of my "Daring Dozen".
Noemi Szoychen