Michelle Weirich Lead ECE Instructor at Blackhawk Technical College From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be an educator. For 11 years, I worked at a child care center where I had the pleasure of teaching preschoolers and working as a director mentoring staff to achieve their educational goals. This school year marks my 20th year teaching full-time at Blackhawk Technical College as the Early Childhood Education Instructor. In addition to my position at BTC, I work part-time with students at UW-Whitewater in the ECE4U program. Through my experience at BTC, I have been a member of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) ECE State Curriculum Committee and worked with UW-Whitewater to develop an articulation agreement for graduates of WTCS programs. I have been a member of the Credit for Prior Learning Committee that created pathways for individuals in the ECE profession to earn college credits for their experience working in the field. Being involved in the local community and the ECE community is important part of who I am. I serve on several child care advisory boards and enjoy presenting workshops on various early childhood topics. The pandemic has been a challenging time working in the ECE field and in higher education. My courses are designed in the MyEdChoice format, which puts the choice in the student’s hands on how they will attend class. Maintaining quality instruction while providing flexibility is a necessity in reaching today’s students. Success of the student is related to the level of engagement they have with the class and their peers. I challenge myself to think outside of the box to develop relationships with each of my students no matter what modality of instruction they choose. I may not teach little ones anymore, but I feel I am able to impact the lives of the children in my community by educating the individuals that will teach them. I am most proud of the success and accomplishments of my students. As an instructor, I am able to see the professional growth in the students from their first experience working in the field to when they graduate from the program. I am thankful for the opportunities and relationships I have been able to create through my position at BTC. I am constantly amazed at the work that is being done in the ECE field. Early childhood education received a lot of attention during the pandemic and recent elections. I am hopeful that the profession and the worthy work that is done in ECE will continue to be recognized as essential to our country’s economic stability.