Friday, June 29, 2012

Let the Ramblings Commence

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” -John Pierpont Morgan

I've been aggressively stalking reading blogs for about a year now.  They have been an amazing piece of professional development for me.  The thought of having my own blog has been in the back of my mind for quite some time, but I was never sure that anything I would have to say could be deemed valuable to other educators.  I'm going to ignore that thinking and just go ahead and put it out there anyway.

I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself so that you can determine whether subscribing to me will be worth your while educational.  I have a bachelors degree in middle school education with an emphasis in language art and social sciences.  I have a masters degree in education with an emphasis in curriculum for gifted students.  I am getting ready to start my seventh year of teaching.  

My first job was in a K-12 district of about 1,200 students.  I was the sole teacher for the gifted program, with students in grades 1-8.  I had to help rebuild the program after a hiatus due to budget cuts.  As a first year teacher, I found this quite challenging.  Luckily, I had been the product of a stellar gifted program throughout my own public school education, and I relied heavily on those previous experiences as well as my previous teachers.  I worked with an amazing group of kids.  I felt like I was able to foster growth in them throughout that time.  However, the small-town mindset lack of support desire to grow led me to finding a different job after three years.

I am now a proud member of a school district of over 7,700 students.  I've had a wide variety of experiences during my last three years.  I began in a well-established gifted program teaching 3rd & 4th grade students.  I was able to begin a journey into having a technology-filled, student-centered classroom.  After a great year filled with supportive administrators, teaching partners, parents, and students, budget cuts were passed down.  I was told, "You have a job, but..."  

I ended up teaching 5th grade in a school with a population of 250 kids, 87.5% of whom qualify for free and reduced lunch.  I speculate that a majority of the remaining 12.5% would qualify as well, they just don't want to fill out the paperwork but for various reasons they have not been identified.  It was an incredible journey of self-discovery.  It pushed me to look at every aspect of the student.  It really made Maslow's theories make so much sense.  Throughout the course of the year, I helped a group of students who were considered undesirables (you can't find a sub willing to work in building) reach new heights and they helped me become a better person in school and out!  

In the spring of that year, with only a couple weeks of school left, our community suffered Missouri's strongest tornado in almost 50 years.  An EF-5 tornado swept through town destroying and damaging so much, including my school building.  I lost nearly everything in my classroom.  I spent the entire summer rebuilding what I could through the help of people from all over the country. When school began, I was set up in a trailer FEMA provided temporary building.  Our school population had seen a significant decrease with the loss of homes in and around the school attendance zone.  On the second day of school, with 12 students in my classroom, and my best friend who'd lived with me after the tornado teaching fifth grade across the hall, my principal walked in with the those familiar words on her lips, "You have a job, but..."

One week after school began, I started with a new groups of students across town.  I was now in a building of 600 students with 57% qualifying for free and reduced lunch.  I was dealing with a whole different element here.  I now had three teaching partners and 21 kiddos with much more diverse home lives. I spent the year working on rigorous and relevant instruction with an emphasis on relationship building.  I continued to incorporate technology in my daily lessons using my 2-1 student to computer ratio.  I grew as an educator in my ability to bring depth, not width, for all of my students to my instruction.

As I face a new school year, I plan to start implementing the "flipped classroom" model of instruction. I am hoping to share this journey with readers who are eager to learn with me, or to share based on their experiences.  I hope that, if you're not asleep you've taken the time to read this, you have decided whether or not following me will be beneficial for either of us.  If you find that we can collaborate together please follow me using the link on the right of this page.  Looking forward to this journey of discovery.



  1. Welcome to the world of blogging. Wow! You have quite a story to tell. I'll be waiting to read more of your posts. :-)

  2. I am absolutely delighted to have your readership! I've been reading your blog for awhile now too!

  3. It was interest to get to know you.Wish you good luck in your blogging.

    Enjoy Teaching English

  4. WOW! What a story! Talk about overcoming some obstacles! Looking forward to what you have in store. I'm your newest follower! :)