Well, my dear friends, 2016 has just about come to an end.  As such, I wanted to take a few moments and share some of my reflections from this year.  This was largely inspired by my experience with my first #PassTheScopeEDU on Periscope.  You can check that out here.  I am very thankful to the amazing Valerie Lewis for inviting me to be a part of that and also teaching me the ins and outs of Periscope.  As you will see, I need some practice, but I am stretching every day and trying to learn some new things.

When I reflected about the most important thing that I have learned this year, it all came down to community.  My position as an Instructional Technology Coach can be a lonely place.  Although I am a teacher, teachers are wary of me as it is difficult to figure out if I am a teacher, an administrator, a representative of the county, etc.  This semester, I have been fortunate to build some amazing relationships with some fabulous people, but I have been really lacking in a true community.

I have been fortunate to find a few real friendships, one of whom is Kenya Ransey.  This amazing woman builds me up and encourages me.  We talk about books and ideas.  She challenges me on a regular basis, and I am grateful.  My prayer for all of you is that you find some really amazing colleagues that will do the same for you.  Through Kenya, I found EduMatch, an organization begun by Sarah Thomas.  These amazing teachers are worldwide and are so edifying.  They are all about building community, and I truly consider them to be my amazing PLN (Professional Learning Network).

I have been off the radar for most of the past week due to illness.  I went to the hospital last Saturday with a sinus infection but also stabbing pains in my head and left arm.  Terrifying, right?  The ER doctor told me offhandedly that it could be TIA (mini strokes).  Given that I am 36 and have 5 children (including 2 very small ones), this was obviously overwhelming.  I am thankful for some updates yesterday that it is definitely NOT TIA and a doctor who seems to know what he is doing.

Being sick and facing a potentially terrifying illness made me stop and take a look at some things in my life over the past week.  I quit my online teaching position because it was not building me up.  I decided to let go of some things that were weighing me down with my extended family.  And I wrote this blog.

As we finish 2016, I encourage you to take some time to really reflect upon what this year has meant to you, what you have learned, what has been a struggle, and how you can go forward next year into a positive place.

Happy teaching with tech, my friends.  Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a wonderful New Year.

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