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TWO WRITING TEACHERS
This fall a new 5th grade teacher was hired at our building. Although I am old enough to be Kristen's mother, in teaching years we are only five years apart.
As I got to know her better, I found that we had similar teaching methods, styles, and philosophies...we were like-minded. There was a problem however. I found out that Kristen was not a reader. So of course being the nerd that I am, that has become my personal mission.
One day she came and observed me and mentioned how she would like to have a classroom library like mine. I thought, "That's a step in the right direction." So that week I ordered a stack of books from Scholastic to add to her library.
December came around and Scholastic was having their warehouse sale in a city about an hour away. I asked her if she wanted to go with me, and she said yes. I thought, "I am making progress!"
We spent the evening browsing through case after case of books. It is very easy for me to spend someone else's money, so I was oohing and ahhing and handing her book after book.
"You have to get this one!"
"This one is so good!"
Since she has my students from last year, it was very easy to make recommendations for specific students.
"Jayda would love this book!"
"AJ needs to read this!"
We both left with full bags and excitement about sharing our purchases with our students. I thought, "This is getting easier! I think she is on her way to becoming a nerd!"
Right before Christmas she was telling me about a home-life problem of a student I had last year. As she was telling me the story she said, "You would be so proud of me. I told him the great thing about reading is that you can get lost in a book. You can just open it up and get lost inside. You can escape from everything that is going on in your life and just read.”
I thought, "Wow, she's getting it!"
Now, here is the clincher. Over Christmas break she sent me this picture along with this text: "I haven't done this in years."
I thought, "Yep, she is on her way!"
Working and collaborating with Kristen has breathed new life into my teaching. Having a like-minded person to share ideas, plans, and resources, I feel less isolated as a teacher. We co-faciliated a PD last week and plan to attend the All Write! Conference this summer. I have shared many of my professional development books and convinced her how important Twitter is to my own professional development. I am so thankful I can call her a colleague and a friend.
Yes, she still has a ways to go before I would technically call her a nerd, but I certainly think she is "under the influence!" Now I just need to get her blogging...maybe that will be a summer project!