Friday, April 1, 2016

DAY ONE

Becoming an educator has been a dream of mine since the first grade. (For those of you who do not know my history in the field of education, it might be helpful to read my blog, "Moment I became a Teacher," as it will explain a lot about how I became who I am.) No matter how many years I teach I have found that I am still amazed at how little I know, how much I need to learn, and how amazing it feels to see learning happening in the hearts and eyes of "my kids."

I love the fact that God has a way of spotlighting your purpose when you need it the most. It is the last quarter of the year and as an educator, you can get pretty bogged down in the routine, the spring fever, and the attitudes exuding from teenagers who are ready for summer. However,  I had one of the most enlightening conversations of my teaching career today. It inspired me and made me see there is a purpose to the crazy inside of my head and heart. Although I love my job as a reading specialist this year, I have truly missed coaching and leading educators. I had an opportunity to do so the last few weeks, and it has energized me. Therefore, I have decided to push myself to try something new.

 I edit and write for foreign and local individuals or companies, and develop curriculums and lessons for schools around the world. However, I am going to try to focus on my own writing purpose and my love for coaching and teaching. I am not 100% sure what is going to come of it, but it will be a trial in teaching and a bearing of this educator's soul. I will be creating a regular blog post about education and would love to interact and connect with my readers as well. Therefore, if you have questions about education, have a student or child who is struggling, or just want to share a tip you have about education or life please leave me a comment or two.

I had a question about my training and education and thought I would list those things to share a little about who I am and where I have come from in the field of education. This may give you some insight into why my posts are all over the place. I was told once that I am "a Jack of all trades, but a King of none, " and it was meant to hurt me. However, I am so thankful for this eclectic experience because it has made me see education in a different way each year. It is also clear to me that I do not want to be an expert on one thing. I want to continue to learn and I am humble enough to admit when I do not know something. After all, God has led me down the paths I have taken, and I know He is preparing me for something, and putting me where He needs me. I will gladly follow the King instead of trying to be one.

To learn more about my experience and education feel free to watch my online resume or read the info below. 

Education:
As an undergrad, I took the scenic route, not the interstate. It took me 5 years to graduate, as I was married to a military man, had two kids, dealt with deployment, and moved 6 times in 5 years of school. I also ran a daycare during the day then went to night classes. So, I transferred to different schools and ended up having to retake classes due to the non-transfer of some courses. During these years, I majored in education and minored for the first year in theater and the first three years in psychology. I ended up with 240 credits and needed 172 to graduate.  I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Middle Grades Education with an emphasis in Language Arts and Social Sciences.

Master of Arts in Teaching in Instructional Strategies with an endorsement in Reading. This was a degree I obtained to help decrease the chances I would get pink slipped AGAIN. I was pink slipped my first 4 years of teaching as the low man on the totem pole. Therefore, I decided to complete the one course I needed for my reading endorsement K-12 and to complete courses to ensure I would always have a job with special education services. I took this three-year program in 1.5 years because I was terrified my husband was going to get transferred in the middle of it, and I would be unable to transfer courses. I was so glad I put myself through that stress because the last semester he was transferred. The kids and I stayed until the end of the school  year and I was able to complete my thesis and graduate prior to moving.

Master of Education in Leadership was the degree I just finished up. It was a three-year degree I completed in a year as well. (Undergrad scarred me for life). I never saw myself as a "leader" and was not even sure I wanted to take this on, but after some coaching conversations with my spouse, superintendent, colleagues and a whole lot of prayer I decided to give it a try. I am so thankful I did. I see education from an entirely different perspective now, and I know I am a better educator and employee because of it. So, technically I could become a principal, but my passion really lies in special education and curriculum. Therefore, I do not see myself becoming a principal anytime soon, but a magnet on my fridge has proved true time and time again, "We plan and God Laughs."

Others:
I am a graduate of the Ottumwa Leadership Academy, Highly Qualified in Elementary Content Knowledge, MS Language Arts, HS English,  and earned a certificate in Science in Project Wild through Aksarben in Nebraska.

Experience:
I have had experience teaching in a variety of grades (preschool through college), subjects, and levels. I have been a general education teacher, special education teacher, college professor, English specialist, instructional coach, lead mentor and special education director/leader.  I have developed curriculum for 4 countries, created non-traditional classrooms online, Moodle programmer, and have written grants with awards over 1 million dollars in revenue. I have been lucky enough to see education in various states around the country (Missouri, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, Alaska, and Florida). I  have taken classes or been trained in Reading Apprenticeship, Alaskan studies, Cross-Cultural Studies, Second Chance Reading, Dyslexia, Instructional Coaching, Mentorship behavior management, PLC, Emotional Intelligence, Fierce Conversations, and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

Throughout my education and experience I have learned that a life-long learner is not just a buzz phrase, but a daily goal.  I make mistakes(daily), am not an expert,  still have a lot to learn, and believe the smartest person in the room is the room. As an educator,  I want to show my students and audience that learning is important and can happen anywhere. It should be something you strive for, not perfection. Failure can teach you how to be flexible and give you more knowledge than getting the answer right the first time. Therefore, I will ask all of you to forgive me for the many mistakes I am sure to make on this 100-day journey. I will screw up, I will create horrible posts, boring ones and even those you feel wasted your time. However, I pray that the intention to share God's purpose is clear in every post along this journey and that you will read, share and grow alongside me.