Welcome fellow educators!!! First, I just want to say how thrilled I am to be in your company. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by so much talent and inspiration. For my first blog post, I’d like to share a bit about my vision for this forum. Let me tell you a little about my journey and what has led me to this moment…
This may sound cliche, but I have ALWAYS wanted to be a teacher. I was the kid who lined up her stuffed animals and practiced teaching a lesson. Then, I reflected and re-taught the same lesson to make it better. Yes! I was THAT kid. I started working as a tutor as soon as I turned 16. I officially accepted my job on my 16th birthday. I was the very definition of an “eager beaver”. What I didn’t realize was how truly challenging and rewarding this profession would be…
Throughout college, I worked at a school district and ran various extracurricular programs for kids in elementary school. I am SO grateful for these opportunities, as I learned a ton about managing a group of kids. (Taking a group of 30 energetic 5 year-olds to an amusement park teachers you A LOT.) Kinder teachers, hats off to you! Unfortunately, the economy crashed as soon as I was ready to graduate. Districts in my area were not even accepting subs, let alone accepting applications for teaching positions.
In short, teaching seemed like a pipe dream.
I am not going to lie…Sometimes, I felt like giving up. What got me through it was my love for education. That seems corny, I know. But, when I say I LOVE teaching, I really mean it! I actually ended up going back to school to earn a culinary degree (more on that in a later post 😜). That additional degree allowed me to work a full-time job at night while keeping my part-time teaching job during the day. I was not ready to give up on teaching. If I could just get my foot in the door somewhere…
Finally, it happened…a long-term sub position!!!
Now, this wasn’t your run of the mill long-term position. Due to unexpected circumstances, the room had not been set up. There were no established routines and procedures. There was no end date. The position was unknown. I had been given “those kids”. We have all heard THAT before. This was my first position, and I had been thrown into a very challenging situation. Long story short, I learned a VERY important lesson that first year…
That first month, I’m not going to lie, it was rough. I would spend all weekend planning the “perfect” lessons and then realize in the moment that I had to adjust. My kids weren’t ready for those lessons. They needed support…emotional, behavioral, academic…I had my work cut out for me. At the end of the day, I would quickly gather my stack of papers to grade and rush off to my second job at the restaurant. I remember grading papers in the back during my dinner breaks…those were the days…
There was one moment that changed everything for me…I was at a loss with this class, so I decided to pause the plans and lead a discussion with my students in regards to how they were feeling about school. One student in particular sticks out. He responded that he actually was starting to feel better about school because he realized that all he needed to do was figure out what he was good at…That’s it!!!
Every child is good at something. It is our job to help them find that strength and use it to their advantage.
What I realized in that moment was that I had to differentiate my instruction. I started small. Each student took out a piece of paper and brainstormed their own strengths. Then, we did a share out. That moment completely changed the rest of the school year. My students started to realize they were good at something. They were capable. This is now an exercise I do with my class at the beginning of each school year. This 9 year-old changed the trajectory of my career. I decided to dedicate myself to learning how to effectively differentiate my instruction and how to use my students’ strengths to manage a classroom.
Over the next several years, I attended every workshop, read every book I could get my hands on, and collaborated with as many fellow educators as possible. I even started to present on differentiating instruction for a couple of educational companies. I even became the intervention lead at my school, organizing both intervention and enrichment for students in grades K-6.
That brings me here…to this moment.
I would like to share what I have learned with you.
I want to create a place where passionate, inspirational teachers like you go to learn and share ideas about how we as educators can strive to reach EVERY student…because somewhere “those kids” are counting on us. Let’s reach them…together.
advanced learning back to school classroom community Classroom Management Classroom Setup Differentiated Instruction Distance Learning ELA first week of school intervention Literacy Literacy Centers Nearpod Phonics primary literacy centers project-based learning Reading Reading Workshop SEL Student Rewards upper-grade math
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