Saturday, October 11, 2014

Why I'm Thankful to be a Microsoft Expert Educator

As the deadline to apply for the Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator (MIEE) Program quickly approaches, so does our Canadian Thanksgiving Day.  After reading Arianna Huffington's book Thrive this summer, colleague and friend Mrs. Devon Caldwell and I have been making an effort to express gratitude on a daily basis.  (You'll have to read the book to find out all the perks of being more grateful!)  With my "gratitude mission" in mind, I thought that a thankfulness approach was perhaps the best way to express my feelings about the MIEE program. I strongly encourage other teachers to check out this incredible program and to apply here before the upcoming October 15th deadline. (I'll even help you apply if you contact me!)

Five reasons I'm grateful to be a Microsoft Expert Educator:

(1) I'm grateful to participate in excellent professional development.
From monthly webinars to Global Forums, Microsoft offers a wide variety of useful, relevant P.D.  I received extensive professional development in preparation for the 2014 Global Forum, which included sessions focused on the 21st Century Learning Design rubrics.  I have also taken advantage of the EduCast webinars, Hot Topics blog and online courses available on the Microsoft Educator Network.  And hands-down, absolutely-for-certain the BEST professional development in my career has been attending Microsoft Global Forums

(2) I'm thankful for the many people I've met because of the MIEE program
Thanks to Microsoft, I have met amazing teachers and education stakeholders from all over the world.  We may not see each other face to face, but I have an extended circle of colleagues from around the world that I can reach out to.  

(3) My students and I are glad to have many collaborative opportunities.
Teachers working with other teachers.  Students working with other students.  Connected Classrooms.  I'm happy to have connections with many other teachers.  However, it is also exciting for my students to learn about other people and places while developing their knowledge and skills.  In the short six weeks that we've been back to school, we have already had the opportunity to work with students and teachers from five other classrooms, including both Canadian and international classrooms.  Most of these connections are with teachers that I've met through Microsoft. I strongly feel these connections are an asset for learning and teaching. 

(4) I truly appreciate the inspiration, enthusiasm and motivation to strive for better education.
Attending a Global Forum gives me an incredible "boost" of enthusiasm and inspiration to improve myself and to work towards improvements in our education systems.  There is just something about being surrounded by hundreds of other passionate people that really gets me excited about trying new things, improving my teaching and giving my students the best learning opportunities possible!  (And other events, webinars and collaborative projects are a mini-dose of this great energy!)

(5) I am fortunate to have traveled to many interesting places as an Expert Educator.
In addition to meeting people from around the world, I have also been very lucky to travel to other parts of the world for Microsoft Global Forum events.  On top of the phenomenal professional development and the incredible positive energy I've gained at these events, I have also traveled to countries I likely would have never seen otherwise.  Experiencing the scenic beauty, the culture and the traditions of new places has contributed to my personal and professional growth.

So, thanks Microsoft (and when I say Microsoft, I mean all of the great employees, consultants and educators involved with Microsoft).  Your MIEE program is incredible and I'm so glad that you choose to invest in teachers and in education and in me.  You have helped me and my students in so many ways.  I truly believe I am a better teacher because of the experiences I have had as an Expert Educator and I'm excited to continue learning and growing - I hope to meet a whole bunch of new MIEEs very soon! 

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