|Two Writing Teachers
To say I am a little nervous would be an understatement. I don't like being singled out for a variety of reasons. One reason is because I don't like the attention, but the main reason is because I don't want to be labeled as one of "those" teachers who think their way is the right way.
I have only been teaching for seven years and I continue to grow each year. But I have worked very hard to make my reading block what it is today.
My first year of teaching I taught four sections of 5th grade reading. I followed the basal's weekly plans and did most of the accompanying workbook pages....I can hear many of you gasping right now!
I hated that year and so did my students. I spent that summer creating my own professional development by reading and reading and reading. That fall I changed grade levels, along with my reading instruction, integrating reading workshop. The more I read about reading workshop, the more I knew that was the direction I wanted to take. But about four weeks into the school year, I began feeling the pressure. I caved in and went back to the basal...another gasp!
Each year since then, I have developed and refined my teaching instruction through my own summer professional development. I have merged reading workshop, Daily Five, and our state-mandated reading block to what I use today. It has been a long, lonely road because I have been trying to do this by myself. I had no one to bounce ideas off of or to collaborate with.
My corporation is very basal dependent, but teaching with the basal just wasn't for me. I wanted more, and I found that many teachers out there taught reading the way I wanted to teach it. (I hope to write a post soon on how I became basal independent.)
This year our corporation is finally making changes in our reading instruction. When I was approached about being observed, I was hesitant, but I also felt validated. That maybe, just maybe, I am doing things right and all the road bumps I experienced along the way were worth it. It has been seven years, and no, I still don't have it all figured out...but I have continued to move forward, and I know I am a better teacher because of it.
So, today I do feel validated nervousness, but I think it's a good thing. I'll let you know for sure after today is over!