Posted in Academia, This is me

Just make a mark and see where it takes you.

Do you ever wonder how you are supposed to make your mark? Recently, my job changed from being the Graduate Advising Coordinator to being a full-time tenure track Assistant Professor of Education and the Coordinator of the Job-Embedded Practitioner Program. I am so excited, and this is a position I have been working towards for several years. It is so strange to me to think of myself as finally being where I have worked to be for all of this time. All of a sudden, I have new professional options for how I can make my mark on education. I have ideas that previously seemed unattainable that now do not look so far away, and a renewal and validation of the thoughts that I have had regarding education, relational teaching, educational technology, and the roles we should take as professors and teachers. So many ideas and goals, and not a clue how to start.

The easy answer is, “You made it into academia, now you need to start researching and publishing if you want your voice to be heard.” What does that look like? How do you even get started down that road? I have always been someone that would rather teach or present than write. So how do I get started with this need to publish that exists in academia? How do I fill the need to publish and balance it with my personality trait of needing/wanting to teach?

Today is International Dot Day. If you have never heard of Dot Day, I strongly urge you to visit http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/ and learn more about this fun day and different ways to celebrate it. You may look and think that most of the celebrations are for young children. I thought so initially, but I ordered the book (I actually ordered the creatrilogy on Amazon) and decided I would read about it to see if there was any way it could apply to my students. I quickly discovered that it not only applies to my students, but also to me. You see, I realized through reading the book that I am now both Vashti and Vashti’s teacher. I have realized my role of Vashti’s teacher for years. Encouraging students to make their mark; helping build their confidence; and celebrating their accomplishments, no matter how small, are things that I have been doing for a long time, even before I was an adjunct faculty member or teacher. Those are the things that come naturally to me, and the things I love to do. I now find myself in the role of Vashti, at a loss of how to proceed.

I read The Dot to my class of graduate students last night, and plan to read it in all 3 classes I teach today. As I have planned my lessons to incorporate this children’s book, I have thought about what that book means to the different groups of students I teach and that has also forced me to think about what it means to me. Sometimes, we just have to make a mark. Once we get our mark made, then it is time to sign it and keep making marks. I can remember writing papers in graduate school that were easy to write once I could finally get started. That is how The Dot works. It is getting started. It is encouraging our students to start somewhere, even if it is just a dot.

So, I am getting started. I have started my dots. Some of them will be frameworthy, and some will need to be thrown away. Regardless, today I will celebrate International Dot Day with my students, even though they are not the typical students who would be celebrating this, and we will make our mark. Go out today, do something that may seem a little unusual, make your mark, and sign it.

#InternationalDotDay #MakeYourMark #DotDay

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