Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving . . .

In an effort to be very cliché, I thought I'd triple post this week and talk about being thankful.  I forget how thankful I am for things on a daily basis, so it's really a good thing that we HAVE Thanksgiving each year.  Otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd forget to be thankful at all - life just moves too quickly.

To start, I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a middle school reading specialist - for the district who had vision enough to understand that the job of a reading specialist has to move past our elementary schools and seep into secondary education.  A step up from that is my current building administration and their vision for reading intervention and the faith that they have in my decisions as a reading specialist.  I'm given freedom to create my own schedule and use my time in a way that I feel will allow me to impact the most students in the time that we have each day.  They listen to my ideas for improvement and do their best to accommodate those ideas.  When I ask for a schedule change on a student, it is never challenged, and I know it is because my judgment is respected and trusted by those who make those final decisions.

I'm also eternally grateful for the staff who have come forward to be part of our intervention team.  Without this group of tireless teachers, there is no way we could impact over 200 (out of 800) students each day the way that we do.  Not only do we have language arts teachers working intervention classes and running homeroom interventions, but we have had science, social studies, and fine arts teachers step forward as well!  They're eager to learn and to help out, and they're candid with their feedback, which allows for positive change.

Those teachers and staff who have offered to help progress monitor our 140+ students who need to be monitored in either fluency or comprehension are the next on my list.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  Because of you, I only have to run assessments on forty-five students every two weeks for fluency and about fifty in comprehension every six weeks.  It's still a lot, but imagine if I DIDN'T have your help!

I am grateful for those of you who have trusted me enough to invite me into your classrooms, collaborate with you, discuss specific students, or brainstorm strategies to target groups of students.  Your classrooms are the reason I have loved this job.  You allow me to provide support to you and your students AND you allow me to learn from you.  Thank you.

Finally, I am grateful for the kiddos I reach every day.  Each mini-success provides me with the confidence and will to move forward in this time of great change in education.  I have loved (yes, I said love) hundreds of children in the last seventeen years, and one of the greatest gifts a teacher can have is to run into one from ten years ago and see that I might have had some impact on where that adult is today.  There is no greater gift than that.

So that's all I'm going to say on this topic, as I kind of feel like I've just "social media"-ified my blog.  But, hey, I'm feeling in the spirit, and I promise a professional post will come sometime over the long weekend!  Happy Turkey Day, all!

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