1. I always wanted a job where I could make a difference in the lives of others.
2. Middle schoolers are the BEST! They change as fast as the weather changes; there is no day that's the same! I love their funny responses to questions and their quirkiness. Their creativity, uniqueness, and zest for life inspires me!
3. Each day has its own set of challenges and no day is ever the same.
4. I am constantly learning. I learn so much each day about my students, myself, and about teaching!
5. The challenge continually pushes me to improve and get better at what I do. I am surrounded by amazing teachers every day and I love learning from them.
6. Who doesn't love chicken nugget day?
7. Each year you get to start fresh. I love that, but I also hate it! I always wonder what happens to my students after they go on to high school and then onto their adult lives. It brings me so much joy to get an email, a visit, or a note from an old student!
8. The ability to be an example for them, to talk about my own middle school experience, and the opportunity to be there when they make mistakes or hard decisions is so awesome. I don't know of many jobs where you can get to know kids so well and SEE them grow as much as we do.
9. School supplies.
10. The opportunity to talk about books and help students rediscover their love of reading. It takes TIME, but it is an absolute joy and pleasure!
It's hard to believe I'm typing this blog post from South Dakota. Never, ever in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd have the opportunity to teach here. I remember sitting in the old rickety desks at Michigan State in the early 2000s thinking about how I was going to teach in suburban Chicago, just a few hours from my home.
Little did I know that God had another plan!
I met my husband in Virginia where we both moved for jobs. Meeting him changed my life and had a direct effect on the path of my teaching career. His job moves us around, so here we are!
There are so many things I'm enjoying about this new-to-me school. I love the small class sizes. I love the technology available for students and teachers. I love the family feel. I love the beautiful drive I take every day to get here. It's just awesome!
The first few weeks of school in my class is dedicated to establishing routines that are so important for growth as the year goes on. I am a huge advocate of teaching kids how to love reading again, so a good chunk of our time is spent in reading workshop which allows them to self-select their books while I conference individually with them. I love this time we have set aside because there's no pressure to take a test or a quiz on whatever they're reading. All they have to do is talk with me about their books! We spend time targeting skills they are working on in class in addition to helping them learn how to select books that they're interested in. I can't tell you the number of times - in every state I've worked in - that students tell me they've only really read one or two books in their entire school career. I am encouraged to look up at my Shelfie board in my room and see we are almost to 20 students completing books already!
I'm super excited to get them started on their own blogs. Blogging holds a special place in my heart because of the effect it's had on my own writing life. I want to continue to give students authentic writing opportunities and blogging is a great avenue for that. It's fun to watch the kids navigate their blogs, figure out how to customize it to make it fit them, and seeing them talk with each other about how to write a blog post well. It's definitely a work in progress and they won't be perfect at it right away (what writer is?!), but they'll continue to grow and get better as the year goes on.
I hope you're looking forward to seeing their work soon! I'll have links to their blogs posted once we've got them up and running.
What's been a highlight of your school year so far? Comment below!