Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking Back

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place to share our Slice of Life. Read more slices or add you own here.

It is the time to look back and reflect on 2014.  It is hard to believe that another year has gone by.

My word for 2014 was REACH, and what a year of reaching it was for me.  This year brought many high points along with some very low ones.  

A special Christmas gift from my friend and colleague, Kristen.

I wrote here that I wanted to reach out to others, reach out of my comfort zone and reach out to make my life bigger.  And I did just that.

On a personal note, my children have reached that adult or almost an adult stage in life.  My son started a band and is beginning to reach out through his music.  My daughter will be student teaching in six days.  She is reaching that culmination point of her education.  My role as their mother has changed.  Still important but just different.  Reaching this point of parenthood has been filled with many emotions. 

I found out in January that Twitter was an extension of my arms, reaching out to teachers across the country.  The connections I have made through blogging and tweeting were celebrated in June when I went to AllWrite! and met Ruth, Elsie, Linda, Christy, Kim, MaryHelen, Jen, and Katherine. (I apologize if I missed anyone.  I can't find the picture!)  

I have grown as a teacher, a reader, a writer and as a person simply by reaching out into this community of friends.

Reaching out of my comfort zone is always a challenge.  Presenting PD's to colleagues was one the most difficult things I did as a teacher.  This type of PD is not well received here yet, but I tried to reach out and share my experiences.  I am still reaching because last night I tweeted to all of our schools that I want to have a Twitter party.  So many of them are missing out on so much.  I want to show them what Twitter can offer - no takers yet!

I also reached out and wrote two posts for the Nerdy Book Club.  That was scary because I admire and respect so many of the people involved in that endeavor.  They are my rock stars!  You can read those here and here.

Twice I had to reach deep and try to understand why people do the things they do. Two people who I respected, made some wrong decisions which hurt many people. Forgiving is hard.  I learned that when we put people up on pedestals, it makes it that much farther when they fall.  

This year I changed schools and grade levels.  Making this change was not something I had planned or even thought about.  I assumed I would teach 4th grade for the remainder of my teaching career.  After moving to 6th grade, I know this was the right decision.  I miss my teacher friends from my previous school, but being able to reach out and form relationships with "almost-teenagers" has been an incredible experience.  

I also started the Next Chapter Book Club here in my hometown.  Starting this club was something I had wanted to do for quite some time. It became a reality this year and has been such a blessing.  We are currently reading I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, and sharing my love of reading with them is reaching beyond boundaries. You can read about it here.  (I hope to share my group with you in a few weeks.)

Choosing one word to live by for the year also has ties of faith for me.  I wanted to reach out and become closer to God.  I have had mixed feelings on writing about that on this blog.  I wanted this blog to be more of my life as a teacher, a reader, and a writer.  Because of this and because of my desire to include my faith in my one little word, I have decide to start another blog.  I will include my Spiritual Journey Thursday posts with Holly Mueller and other new adventures.  The name of the new blog is tied in with my one little word for 2015.  I am so excited about this new adventure and will share it some time this week.

I still have one goal that I did not reach this year, but moving grade levels prohibited that.  Hopefully when I have a year of teaching middle school under my belt, I can still REACH out of my comfort zone while reaching others and making my life even bigger!  We will see.

If you are still thinking about choosing one word to guide you through the new year, you might want to check out my post from yesterday.  It has some thoughts from Jon Gordon's book.

Another year has gone by.  It was an exceptional year for me.  I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring.


  1. The idea of a one word goal/focus for a year is a new to me (though I see that many slicers have mentioned it!)…however, wow - the word REACH was extraordinary for you! What a lovely reflection of your year through the prism of this one word - I hope you see all that you have REACHed. Quite a year of accomplishment! Happy New Year!

  2. I am glad that you are able to reflect back on how reach positively impacted your life in multiple ways in 2014.

  3. I enjoy reading all the reflections today about our OLW. Mine was Open and I am having a hard time letting it go. It was a good word. As I write this I am listening to a podcast about the OLW. Allie (not sure if this is correct spelling) says that we don't have to let go of the old word. So I will look for a new word that may be an extension and will allow me to stay open. Perhaps Reach is it?

  4. "Reach" seems to have worked well for you. We may sometimes fall short when we reach out, but how dull life would be if we never tried reaching out. Happy New Year, Leigh Anne.

  5. Reach has allowed you to touch many lives and I know you will continue to reach. I look forward to your next word and journey it will take you on.

  6. Thank you for reaching out to me with the sunshine questions and encouraging words throughout the year. <3

  7. Great reflections, Leigh Anne! It's really interesting going back and thinking through your year. Amazing what was accomplished, right?

  8. Leigh Anne, this post has much power in it for your reach is reaching all of us. Thank you for leading me to and through various thoughts. I look forward to hearing what your new OLW will be.

  9. I love how you brought everything full circle with your OLW, Leigh Ann! On a personal note, if you hadn't "reached" out to me all those months ago, I don't think I would have continued my blogging, so your OLW was an important one for me, too :-) I'm off to read yesterday's post about your new OLW!

  10. WOW! What a year you've had. I've so appreciated getting to know you through your blog. You have certainly REACHED out to many people and opportunities. Can't wait to see what 2015 brings for you!

  11. I love how it all came together! What a reach you have had. Thank you for reaching out to me through posts and tweets this year. Your kind words always lift my spirits.

  12. It's amazing how all the pieces fit together for your learning. It's so special that your faith encourages you to write and share. I'm excited to follow your new blog and thanks for OLW ideas as I continue to ponder.

  13. Sounds like you really have had a year of reaching. I love how you were able to apply this word to so many different contexts- family, work, professional life outside of your own school, faith, etc. Here's to big things in 2015!

  14. A new blog?!?! I've been thinking about doing the same thing!! I LOVE your reflection on REACH. Isn't it amazing to see where our OLW takes us?!?! Can't wait to see your word for 2015. Happy New Year!!!

  15. You reached for so much, Leigh Anne - bravo! Happy New Year.