For the November Tech Integration Blog Post, I am going to go back to writing, so for those who enjoy watching the video blog posts, please bear with me for this one! I am also going to take a break from the usual EdTech focus so that I can write about the Top Ten things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I know, that's a lot of change for one month, but if you don't regularly take time to reflect on the things in your life you have to be thankful for, I encourage you to try it. It can help center you and rejuvenate you, and best of all, it keeps things in perspective! With that, here's my list:
10. My job at ESU 4: when I first earned my Master’s Degree, I was excited to use it to become a better teacher with the hope of one day moving into a position where I could serve as a Technology Integration Specialist in Education. Thank you to all the wonderful people at ESU 4 for taking a chance on me!
9. Music: it always has been and will always be an important part of who I am. It has helped shape me, and I am thankful for the 13 years that I spent serving as a Band Director. They were rewarding, challenging, fulfilling, and so much more. If one single piece of music could summarize this, it would be Symphony No. 4 by David Maslanka.
8. Traveling: I have seen so many beautiful places in this world, and I am blessed to have been able to share it with the love of my life, Sarah. While there are favorite places we enjoy going back to, we also like exploring new places. This year, we visited and explored New Orleans and it was an amazing experience.
7. Home: we are blessed with a wonderful home, and there’s nothing like traveling to remind you of that and give you a new appreciation for that. While there’s always the list of projects we’d like to do, I try to step back and look at our house and how it has truly evolved into our home. For our son Joey, and our dogs Archer and Sunny, it is basically the only home they have ever known, and that alone makes it special!
6. Technology: I do not simply mean technology for technology’s sake, but rather, technology that changes the world. It’s crazy to think that the internet didn’t exist when I was born, and computers were barely even a thing. I have seen so many changes with the advancement of technology, and how they have made the world a better place.
5. Educators: in my role at ESU 4, I get to see a lot of educators and their students in several different school buildings, as well as a variety of grade levels and content areas. I am always amazed by how hard educators work for the students they serve. It is a blessing to see how devoted and caring the educators in our ESU 4 schools are, and how much that impacts the lives of students. The strive to make school a positive and special place for all--especially for the students who have difficult home lives and need that the most!
4. For all of the teachers who had a profound impact on me, especially my high school and college band directors and all of my other music teachers.
3. For all of the mentor teachers who have helped me throughout my career--especially during those first few years. You saw the potential in me even when I didn’t see it myself, and you were the ultimate example of faith and patience.
2. All of my family and loved ones who are no longer with us. Holidays are always a bittersweet when those you love are not around to celebrate with you anymore. Regardless, their impact was deep, and they will always be a part of who I am.
1. My family: my amazing wife, our wonderful son, our dogs, our parents, and all of our relatives and loved ones. Family is everything, and I am who I am because of them.
Ben is the Technology Integration Specialist at ESU 4 in Auburn, NE. He is also a Google for Education Certified Trainer.