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I'm Headed Back to the Classroom

A little over a year ago, I accepted a position as a reading specialist having finished up a four year stint as a fourth grade teacher. During year 18 of my teaching career, my primary task was "to equip  teachers with knowledge and skills necessary to help third grade students achieve grade-level reading or above." This task also came with various other caveats like requiring that I spend 80% of my time in third grade and that third graders' state reading assessment scores increase by at least 10% in one year. Long story short...the educators with whom I worked and I achieved what we had been tasked to do, by the state's standards. (More important than those standards, I witnessed first hand how knowledge and literacy can and does change the course for a grade level and a group of hard-working teachers and third graders.)

Day in and day out, I analyzed data, conducted intervention, coached teachers, modeled interactive lessons and guided reading groups, gathered resources, studied, provided PD, planned, reflected, and missed my own classroom. All year I felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt like something was missing. There was a genuine sadness in my soul.

Fast-forward to the beginning of this school year. The first week geared up and I found myself in the thick of things....deep, hot, and heavy! By Friday of the first week, I asked my principal if I could step down and go back into the classroom. She gave me her blessings. After a few weeks of moving parts getting in the right place, the time has come.

Come next Wednesday, the 6th, I will be back in my element as a fourth grade teacher on a different campus. I cannot wait to meet my new students and grow with them. I am excited to implement all of the changes I have thought through over the past year.  I won't use the points based reading/quiz program anymore. This is going to allow me to focus on what really matters in matching my students up with the right books. It's going to allow me to get to know my students even better. I've rethought homework and it will be minimal. I'll use Flipgrid, Twitter, and Kids Blogs as well as Google Classroom.  As you can see, even though this is year 19, it's a very exciting time for my students and me.

I'm reminded as I prepare to go on this next journey of a promise I made myself a long time ago. I promised to never stop learning, reflecting and improving. My students are worth it!


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