In my many years as a teacher of technology in the New York City public high school system, I’ve found that my drive to not follow the status quo—whether it’s
integrating something new into my classes each school year or finding fresh ways to advocate for my program—has been a constant underlying factor to my success as a CTE instructor. Not only that, “innovating” has truly made – and continues to make—my teaching career vastly engaging, tremendously satisfying, and even therapeutic in the midst of the hard-lined politics that surround the business of education.
Despite the challenges we face as teachers, I thrive on the success stories of my students. I’ve lost count of how many of my former students have created rewarding careers and comfortable lifestyles because of the technology skills they directly acquired and still utilize from their tenure in my CTE classroom.
“Innovation” to me has been integral to two main areas of my role as an instructor:
- Developing learning components that are unique to my class
- Finding new opportunities to partner and expand my program’s reach
I’ve provided detailed strategies that have helped me succeed in these areas in the two posts linked above.
One of my keys to success is that I love my discipline. Passion and a willingness to innovate are crucial for a great program, but more fundamental and equally as important is taking the time to stay on top of the changes in my field. I’ve found it critical to stay current with my skillset and the state of CTE nationally, and I’ve done this by attending professional development conferences, local seminars and online webinars to stay up to date on the newest trends.
If you love your discipline, know your discipline, and are willing to try new things, then you can be fearless in making a difference every day in those lives that sit before you in your classroom!
Alexander C. Bell
2015 ACTE Region I Teacher of the Year
Teacher, Thomas A. Edison CTE High School
Jamaica, New York