It’s been a long and slow process to this point. One where I’ve been dragging my heels every step of the way. My heart beats quickly and my stomach is all aflutter… But believe it or not, this is a good day—a great day! For I am embarking on a journey that has been itching at the back of my mind for a few years now. A challenge that I’ve shied away from. A task that I deemed more advanced than my ability.
This is the start of my blog!
I am a seven-year classroom teacher veteran, who recently began a new position as a literacy coach. A self-proclaimed literacy fanatic, who “geeks out” on all things literacy. Calkins, Allington, Daniels, Harvey, and Keene are some of my idols. I live and breathe the skills, strategies, and techniques required to get students to engage in, to love, and to learn literacy.
My journey had a humble start. I began my career as a fourth grade teacher, teaching all subject areas: reading writing, math, science, and social studies. Things took a turn, during my fourth year, when the district announced that we would departmentalize reading and math at my grade level.
I’ll be honest—I thought I wanted to teach math.
The ease of having a set program, where each next lesson was at my fingertips with the turn of the page, and grading was as simple as perusing a multiple choice exam as I marked right or wrong (misguided I know…) seemed much better than reading 50 essays (written by fourth graders, no less), the many hours spent lesson planning to find the perfectly succinct minilesson and mentor text for reading workshop (my district had recently done away with a basal reading program), and the daunting task of teaching reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary in a way that would make these young minds love and want to read and write.
But who was I kidding? I hated math as a student, and although I did enjoy teaching it, it was not my passion. My books shelves were lined with professional books on how to teach guided reading, use literature circles in the classroom, and help struggling readers. Every classroom resource I bought aligned to reading or writing instruction and I spent countless dollars at Scholastic to enhance my classroom library.
I was a literacy teacher, through and through.
Being able to focus largely on literacy gave me a great opportunity to hone my craft. Reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary became the air I breathed. And I was hooked.
Over the years I read every professional book on literacy I could fit in, working around the very hectic, busy life of an elementary school teacher (My current to read pile is about 10 books high- you know how it is…). I applied and worked for each district curriculum initiative that popped up and attended all the professional development opportunities I could. I began to envision myself one day, down the line as becoming a literacy coach or staff developer. My love for literacy was that strong and others began to see that strength and passion as well.
“One day” came a lot sooner than expected when a literacy coaching position opened within my district, and I threw my hat into the ring….
…And here I am.
I want to write to share what I’ve seen, heard, and learned from the wonderful people around me: teachers, staff developers, literacy professionals, and the gurus of our field. I want to create a conversation about literacy learners and thinkers. I want to support teachers as we work toward state and district demands and I want to provide a supply of current, engaging literacy instructional strategies.
But most of all I want to help foster classrooms where literacy is valued and loved. Valued not only by the teachers who choose to be there with heart and soul each and every day, but by the students who walk through their doors. My goal as a classroom teacher, which is still my goal today, is to make EVERY student a reader. A reader who has learned to love books.
Let’s keep the conversation going-