This September, Back to School takes on a deeper meaning for me. My job as a district literacy coach was eliminated last spring, resulting in my having to make a choice. I could move to a newly created and offered position for which I feared I was not qualified, or I could apply for a classroom teaching position in one of our elementary schools. I did not have to deliberate for long! Not only was it impossible for me to sign onto a job for which I did not have the requisite skills set, I was overjoyed to even consider heading back into a classroom of my own.
This summer has been one of lingering grief over the loss of my coaching position - one for which I studied and trained and gave my all for the administrators, teachers, and students I served. But it has also been one of eager anticipation. Seven years after I left my last class of first grade students (4 years as a reading specialist, then 3 years as a literacy coach), I am blessed to begin anew with another class of sweet firsties!
I am discovering what a strange juxtaposition now exists for me. Most of my age peers are retired or retiring! And, yet, here I am going into the classroom and feeling like a newbie! What a strange confluence of knowledge and ignorance. The classroom of today is vastly different than the classroom of even seven years ago. Technology, social and emotional learning, instructional pedagogies, and even the curriculum to be taught, have redesigned the classroom landscape. And here I am - a National Board Certified teacher, with a master's degree and two endorsements (gifted and reading specialist), going back into a classroom and feeling brand new.
Happily, I am choosing an attitude of positivity and building my own growth mindset. For the first time in seven years, I will be asked to implement all of the research-based practices I have been asking others to embrace in my position as a coach. I will be called upon to constantly ask myself, Is this best for students? just like I have been asking others to do. I will be called upon to assess and document my students' learning and to use that information with intention and purpose to further their learning, and to share that information with parents, administrators, and my team just like the hundreds of teachers I have coached across the last three years.
I pledge to be transparent about my experiences. There are sure to be some surprises and challenges ahead for me as a "new" instructor 20+ years after I taught my first class of students.
At the end of the day, I am honored, grateful, and humbled to be heading back to a classroom of children to teach, a team of amazing educators to partner with, and a school community to embrace.
Most of all, I will be teaching writing again. My heart is full of joy.
Have a wonderful week, and remember, #allkidscanwrite!