Reflections


     The last three years have been very challenging ones for me.  I have been stretched to my limit, or so I thought.  I have learned so much about not only technology and how to use it, but myself.  I have been challenged to experience new learning methods and to trust myself in making decisions about many things.  For me, just the thought of going back to college at my age was enough to give me nightmares, but I needed to learn about computers and technology:  and what better way than to go through the master's program at Southeastern University.  Oh, if I had known only ten percent of what was in store for me, I probably would not have entered the program; but I am so glad that I did.It has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done besides being the most challenging.

     I have met many wonderful teachers through this program, ones that I would never have had the opportunity to get to know.  The professors have been so supportive and helpful. I know there were
times I bothered them with my questions and insecurities, but they were all so kind.  I know from the start that they sensed that here was a person not sure of herself and who doubted her abilities.  I imagine that they even questioned why I was in the program and to tell the truth, sometimes I questioned that myself.

     I began my journey through this program with Dr. Devaney's research class in the fall of 2001.  It was overwhelming at first, but I enjoyed his style.  I was secure with his format and the manner in which the class was structured.  I knew what he expected and could comply with it.  I learned about how to conduct a research project and only wish that I had kept better notes for future reference.

     The spring semester of 2002, Dr. Bitner introduced me to many software programs that I had never heard of, much less knew how to use.  With is help and guidance, I learned how to utilize Power Point, Inspiration, Excel, and many more.  Dr. Bitner stressed that technology was not to be used just for the sake of using technology, but to make teaching  more effective.  Thanks to him, I learned to use these programs to make my lessons more effective and efficient.

     I did not attend college during the summer of 2002 nor the following fall or spring of 2003.  However, in the summer of 2003, I did something that I will never encourage anyone to do--I enrolled in four technology courses.  Needless to say, it was a very trying summer, but I survived! Not only did I survive, but I gained so much valuable information about HTML.  It drove me crazy for a while.  I even remember going by Dr. Bitner's office, on the verge of tears saying that I just didn't know if I could make it through these classes.  He took the time to talk to me, encouraging and assuring me that I could do it--and I did.  Dr. Bitner also taught me how to develop a webquest.  As I said earlier, it was a trying summer.  But now I use HTML to correct mistakes in web pages I develop.  I use Netscape Composer to develop pages, but sometimes things happen that can't be explained--then I use HTML to correct them.

     My first introduction to Dr. Adams was that same summer.  She sort of scared me at first, but soon put me to ease.  I was so impressed by the fact that she shared her life experiences with us as examples.  At times I felt so inadequate, but she never made me feel inferior or that I did not belong in the class.  She was very skilled at giving encouragement and guidance to motivate you to go the extra mile and give all you have to complete assignments.  Being in her class and listening to her talk made me feel that I could do anything.  The first assignment was to develop a faculty development plan and a three year technology plan for my school.  Wow, was I anxious! At first it was so overwhelming, I didn't know what to do.  But as I began to work on it, Dr. Adams gave me advice and suggestions, but never put my work down.  Day by day I began to feel more secure in my ability to complete this program.

     Every class was a new experience for me.  Dr. Adams had the gift of inspiring you to do what you deemed impossible.  As I look back at the work I have accomplished, I am in amazement.  The technology plan that I develop in Dr. Adam's class was actually used as my school's three year technology plan, with some minor adjustments.  It was quite a feeling of accomplishment to be able to give something of importance to my school.  Developing the school website was a challenge, but I welcomed the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills that I had learned through the master's program.  Everyone was well pleased with the completed project.  Just three years ago I would not even have considered these accomplishments possible.

     As I reflect upon the past three years, I realize that I should have gone through the program at a much slower pace.  There was so much information and knowledge to retain and learn.  It has truly been a transforming time for me.  I have learned so much about technology and about the responsibilities of a leader.  I never considered myself as a leader, but now I know that I am a leader.  With the knowledge I have gained about the use of effective technology, I can guide my peers into the technology journey.  I can share with them knowledge about computers and show them by example how to implement technology in lessons to make them more effective.

     I see myself differently than I did before entering the master's program.  I know that I will be a better educator, leader, friend, and person in the future.  I believe that being around other educators had a great influence on me, encouraging and motivating me to continue learning.  I plan to go through the National Board Certification process this coming year and in the following three years, to get my plus 30 hours.  Who knows--the doctorate program may be on the horizon.

     One thing that was imprinted in  my mind is the fact that change is inevitable .  This journey through the Master's program has been and will continue to be one that is ever changing.  I would like to thank my professors and peers for encouraging and motivating me in the greatest paradigm shift in my life thus far.


 
 
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