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Have a positive impact on as many people as you can with Dr. Dennis McElroy

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Today on the EduMagic podcast I have with me, Dr. Dennis McElroy. I love how back when Dennis was an undergrad he wrote a professional goal stating, "I want to have a positive impact on as many people as I can." Little did he know, that he would work his entire teaching career doing just that! During this interview, he shares his teaching story, tips for future teachers regarding a professional digital presence and professional learning network. He goes onto share the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and exploring new ways to engage as a professional educator. I know that you are going to enjoy this episode!

Tell me about your teaching story or journey into teaching and education.

I had some great teachers. I think of several who influenced me in key moments. Yet, it was the desire to coach that initially piqued my interest in teaching. Back then you couldn’t coach unless you were a teacher. Today I haven’t coached a sport in nearly 20 years. Since my start, I’ve been a teacher, tech director, administrator, state tech consultant, college professor, and school board member. Add to that my increased involvement in ISTE.

Share a favorite teaching moment from your college days

I had a prof who taught Animal Physiology. I remember the day we were studying insect structures and he walked into class dressed as a cockroach! talk about leaving a positive impression! On the other side of The equation was when my Econ grad assistant chose to speak her native language to better explain a concept to us. Great lesson about meeting students where they are...not where you are!

Please share some advice that you have for preservice teachers related to the areas.

D: Digital presence - This one for me is about your professional identity and establishing it early on. I always recommend students not mix personal with professional. For example, my twitter account is only professional. I never mix personal there. At the same time, my students taught me about the concept of a social media cleanse. Because of this, I left Facebook back in February. I feel so much better because of it. The politics were so wearing.

U: Unite your PLN - Every quest is better with a friend to two. Dive into this chapter and learn how to gather your questing buddies. They can help you along the way, provide you with encouragement, and challenge you to the best educator you can be!

I have made creating a PLN my quest with each of my students. It is so incredibly valuable to me and I start every class talking about the PLN and making it a powerful learning tool. I fully integrate this into my courses. For two years in a row, I’ve had one of my classes lead a twitter chat for ISTE TEN.

What is one piece of advice you have for preservice teachers?

Approach your classes and experiences as opportunities rather than requirements. Forget about grades and focus on making the most of each situation.

Connect with Dr. McElroy

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