|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!
Enjoy! You're a teacher leader, embrace it :)ReplyDelete
It takes a brave soul to be the lone soldier in your building or grade level team to step away from the basals and worksheets. Just remember, there's a whole community of us out there you can reach out to anytime!ReplyDelete
I think it's a huge validation that someone (many?) know good things are happening in your classroom, Leigh Anne. Good for you for not settling in any way, but working it all out! I wish I could see too!ReplyDelete
Validation is a good thing! Celebrate that for yourself and your students. You are brave, and hopefully those around your will come and join in your work. Good Luck today.ReplyDelete
Congratulations! People in your district know success when they see it!ReplyDelete
Yes, Leigh Anne! You are doing what must be done for kids. Through this you may get that community of learners to bounce ideas off of. Someone has noticed you make a difference and that is powerful and validating! I hope it was a great day for you and the observers. Can't wait to hear how it went.ReplyDelete
I have a feeling it went very well, Leigh Anne. True validation for all your efforts on behalf of your kids.ReplyDelete
You know you are moving in the right direction and from your writing here I sense you will ask those teachers to come on the journey. Ever onward...ReplyDelete
I am looking forward to reading more about their observations and your feelings. I am sure they learned a lot from you!ReplyDelete
So brave and strong you are! I can't wait to hear the success story that will surely follow.ReplyDelete
Good for you! Your journey sounds a bit like mine when I started teaching in 1986. I was teaching with a basal as the whole language movement came along. I did lots of reading that summer and approached my principal about moving away from the basal. He gave me permission, but I don't think he was convinced that I was doing the right thing. In fact, when one of the new teachers was hired, he told her to stay away from Julie Johnson. :) We ended up becoming great friends and leaned on each other as we taught reading in a different way. I hope your day went well and I'm glad your students have you as their reading teacher.ReplyDelete
How great that all of your hard work is paying off and others are noticing what you are doing! Hope it went well! And I hope you have found colleagues, online if nowhere else, for those rich discussions. Those times are so, so, so important!ReplyDelete