I’ve been forced to think a lot lately about different life opportunities.  I’ve been blessed to have many amazing opportunities presented to me throughout my life.  Please don’t get me wrong, my life is not a series of good fortune, I have had more than enough heartache, drama, and pain; but I also consider myself beyond lucky to have had many people in my life care about me enough to present and put me in scenarios where I have the opportunity to grow, learn, and flourish.

Recently I attended a conference where we were asked to share out who has been the most influential person in our career.  I was unable to answer this question easily, for many there are one or two real life edu-heros that have inspired them. For me, I’ve had a different experience; I’ve had many colleagues who have had a tremendous amount of impact on my life.  My life has been very situational, people have challenged me differently throughout my career depending on topic, experience, and need; but one commonality each mentor did for me was present me with opportunities.

With every opportunity comes a series of question you may be forced to answer: Do I seize this opportunity?  What is the risk/benefit? How much time/money is involved? How will it impact me/others? Now, I wish I could tell you that each time I made a decision to act on an opportunity I gave it this much thought, but if you know me at all you know I haven’t always been as reflective or calculated as I am now 🙂

I can honestly say I have seized almost every professional opportunity presented to me and I’m glad I have.  The knowledge, experiences, and connections that have grown from such situations are what has gotten me to where I am currently in my career and what has allowed me to have such a robust resume very early in my career.  My professional regrets come from the unknown of what would have been had I seized an opportunity or taken someone up on their opportunity!

I am not someone who does well with regret.  I truly believe we have one life to live and we better make the most of the time we have!  That being said, something that is of huge importance to me is philanthropy; however, in education it can be difficult to be philanthropic and give back.  As a teacher, I feel I achieved this through my students and roll within our teacher’s union; as a principal, I was able to give back on daily basis (almost every minute I had involved me doing something for a teacher, student, or parent), and in my current role at the ROE, I am able to do this by providing opportunities for educators to expand their knowledge and challenge their current practices!

I have the ability through, a State grant, to present you with a very unique opportunity!!  

Illinois Online Academy is now offering a 100% online course focused on teaching in a blended learning model!  It is designed for teachers who are new to blended learning or school leaders ready to embark on this new adventure! Teaching in a Blended Learning Model focuses on expanding skills by demonstrating specific strategies to optimize instruction. Course assessments provide practical opportunities to strategize and implement best practices based on input from industry experts.  

I can now, for a very limited time, offer this course for free!!  What an amazing opportunity?!?!?!  All you need to do is be one of the first 5 educators to email me letting me know you want to take this course.  That’s it, it is that simple!!!  Due to the nature of the grant, I need all email submissions of interest no later than next Wednesday, May 9th, remember only the first 5 will be able to access the course through this opportunity.  We will start the course on May 15, this is a self-paced course that you have 60 days to complete.  At the completion of the course, assuming you complete all aspects of the course, you will receive 30 PD hours.

If you are like me, you are now weighing the pros/cons of this opportunity.  Here are the objectives of the course to help provide clarity:

  • Analyze research on blended learning, evaluate learning models, and use case studies to incorporate best practices
  • Incorporate national online teaching standards and 21st Century Skills into your course
  • Create course expectations that will help prepare your students for success
  • Analyze strategies to support different types of blended learners
  • Implement methods to personalize feedback, create a communication plan for your class, and enlist support for parents for your blended learning program

Who knows the ripple effect that might take place because you take advantage of this opportunity!  You definitely won’t regret it!

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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