In today's Take10, we are excited to feature the one and only, Sam Wightman. We first met Sam at a local edCamp -- he is part of the team that coordinates edCamp NOVA, educator-driven professional development that offers choice and relevance, while building relationships across school districts throughout Northern Virginia. As a Senior Instructional Technology Coordinator, Sam is an innovator in our field, helping to meaningfully infuse technology into classrooms and into the lives of students. So Take10 and meet the insightful, funny, techie, Sam Wightman.
Job: Senior Instructional Technology Coordinator
Years in Education: 15 years
Location: Arlington, VA
1. Why education?
I LOVED working at summer camp in high school and college and it inspired me to want to continue working with children and students. I worked with every age of campers from Kindergartners to Adult programs which was almost a foreshadowing to my current position where I work with pre-school programs all the way up to the seniors before the leave and the adults who support them all.
2. What is your education mantra?
Always consider what the students are going through.
3. What is your morning routine?
I start the day by meditating and spending some time to refresh myself. Then I get to it by reviewing my email inbox, emptying the student laptop lockers, returning any needed laptops/devices, and checking my ticket system for support I need to perform throughout the day. Of course the best laid plans tend to fail, so if I am lucky to get half of that done before 1st period starts I consider myself blessed!
4. What is your favorite lesson of all time?
Having students physically build and make a functioning community out of recyclables. It was a hand crafted Sim City with goals in citizenship and community planning.
5. If you could change one thing about schools, what would it be and why?
More time for teachers to learn together.
6. What three words would you use to describe your day as an educator (or three words to describe our profession as a whole)?
Just keep smiling!
7. What's one education-related hack that you can offer to our readers?
Your Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (and many other resource teachers) tend to have a lot of extra supplies/samples they may not always need or be using. Dare to ask if they have any cool tools or samples you can try out.
8. What's one piece of advice you would give to new educators?
It is OK to say no. You don't have to do everything your first year or even your first five years. You need to focus on what you can realistically accomplish without becoming overwhelmed. There are a lot of great opportunities out there, but it is more important to balance your plate and come back for seconds another time.
9. What do you hope students and colleagues will say about you one day at your retirement party?
Sam always listened to what I was concerned about.
10. What are you reading, watching, listening to, or following these days?
A lot of audio books and podcasts. My current favorites in heavy rotation are the Harry Potter Series on Audible and The World of Lore by Aaron Mahnke.
Want more Sam? You can follow him on Twitter at @ThatsWightman.
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