You can tell a lot about me by the ways I like to enjoy myself. I'm a teacher, reader, swimmer, gardener, laugh-er, computer nerd and generally a free spirit. My friends often laugh about me being "out there", whatever that means!
Being a teacher has allowed me to keep young, laugh, and do amazing things with children. I really feel that primary teachers
are the luckiest people on Earth because we are submerged in young souls all the time.
When I was a kid, I never said, "Hey, mom, I want to be a teacher!"
Instead I said, "Mom, I wanna have fun!" I think that life has brought me to the perfect career because I have fun every day. You'll soon learn that about me.
When I'm not teaching I like to work hard and play hard. Digging and working in my yard is extremely relaxing and therapeutic for me. I love to try to grow new plants - green things grow!
But - when I'm not covered in dirt and sweating I like to relax hard too. Living by the water is a magical thing. Any time I can go to the beach and sit and unwind is a blessing.
The College Years
When it came time to go to college, I was asked "What major do you want?"
With a total blank stare, I said, "HUH?"
The world of college education was foreign to me. Thoughts of degrees and lectures and tests didn't float through my head. More like thoughts of sunny days, hot pizza and dirty hands.
I didn't really know I had to pick a career out of a hat, like some type of game. I didn't know what to do...
So, like a typical teen, I asked a friend. She said she was signing up for Elementary Education. Being entirely un-brilliant at 17, that's what I did too.
Little did I know that a degree in Elementary Education involved being around small children all day.
Whoa! Was that a surprise. I was going to be trapped in a room with 20 screaming kids? What did I sign up for? My parents weren't even sure about me signing up for the program!
After really thinking it through, I came to the conclusion that teaching might just be the perfect career for me (if I had to pick one)!
There were many tears, screams and headaches along the way, but in all earning my Elementary Education B.S. was fun. Really. It was. I made great friends, learned a lot about myself and started the groundwork for an amazing career.
The New Teacher - Me!
I was a terrible teacher at first. Golly - the kind I would help now. I had no idea what I was doing, but no one seemed to notice about me and my struggles because I kept being told that I was an "asset" to the school.
Little did I know then that being an "asset" was code for sucker. I was on every committee, group, and meeting. They roped me into tutoring, a school-wide project and more.
Being thrown into the fire in my first year was a true test of my ability to survive, but I did it.
No matter how much you read, research, talk about and listen about teaching, you just don't become good until you do it.
When I was still a "green" teacher, I made many mistakes. Most were things that I could learn from, some left deep scars. There are still teachers that talk about me and my first year - ouch! These are the things in my life that create who I am.
Still Growing in my Profession!
I've been teaching 10 years now. My students weren't born when I started teaching. It makes me feel old sometimes, but then I remember that I am one of the lucky few to call themselves an elementary teacher.
I mean, how many people can wear a tiara to work and still get paid?
Continuing to grow in my career is probably the most important thing to me.
A big thing I've learned about me is that if I'm learning, my students will learn too.
I attend hundreds of hours of training a year, and have even begun being the trainer. I read tons of
to keep learning. I even do mentoring now for teachers who are struggling. I love it. It's fun.
I also adore computers. I started my first website in 1995 about me and my love of Key West, Florida, and haven't stopped making websites yet!
The idea of sharing ideas, thoughts, and pictures with people from all over the world is amazing to me.
Honors and Awards and Philanthropy
Just about once a month I open up my classroom to any teachers who want to come by, ask questions, take pictures, whatever.
I call it Drive-By Mentoring because you just drive on by and get what you need.
I hope that this has helped people as much as I have gained from it. I think that the informal exchange of ideas between professionals happens way too infrequently, and this is a way to let people share without being "structured".
If you're ever in the Tampa area and want to stop by just email me!
Teacher of the Year
My peers nominated me for Teacher of the Year
for my school district. It was an amazing honor and I was thrilled. I don't think about me being a great teacher, I think about me doing a great job at everything I try.
When I wake up in the morning, I don't think, "Hey, I should be teacher of the year!"... I just think, "Go do the best job you can do for your students!"
I think that my constant drive to do the best for my students is what the faculty at my school sees in me. I just do it because I know it's the right thing to do. :)
Collaborative Teacher Award
I was nominated for the Collaborative Teacher Award
in my school district because I am an ESE co-teach classroom. My co-teacher and I were both nominated and were invited to attend a beautiful brunch in celebration of collaboration!
My classroom has had amazing academic and social success - both regular education and exceptional education students - and it couldn't be possible without lots and lots of team work!
Inclusionary Teacher of the Year
I was nominated for the Inclusionary Teacher of the Year
by the Council for Exceptional Children. This was a great honor because I really feel with every part of my being that every child can learn, has the right to learn and should be given every opportunity to succeed.
Sponsorship of Church Event
This year I was able to sponsor a "hole" at my church's golf outting. It was neat to be able to give back!
The best part was that the donation went to help build an education building! Woo hoo!
The day teaching isn't fun is the day I'll find a new career. Until then I will continue to laugh, learn, love and pass it on.
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