I have a wide range of teaching experience, thanks to my husband's career. I began my college years with a focus on law, earning degrees in criminal justice, paralegal studies, and political science. When I realized in my mid-20's that what I enjoyed most was working with children (I was coaching at the time), I returned to school to earn my M. Ed. in western Massachusetts. During the two years that I worked on my degree, I completed two years of full-time service with AmeriCorps as an academic coach. This gave me the chance to work in an elementary classroom in a Title I school. In fact, I was lucky to spend both years in the same fourth grade classroom, and it confirmed my love for teaching.
When I completed my master's degree, I was immediately hired in the district I had been in for AmeriCorps. In fact, I was actually hired in April as a full-time teacher to take over for someone who had decided to leave with only two months left in their year. Imagine my introduction to teaching in someone else's fifth grade classroom. Though it was a short time to the end, I learned a lot in those two months about the teacher I wanted to be. I stayed in the same school the following year, moving down to third grade. The next year, I stayed in the same district, but transferred to a different school where I taught fourth grade for two fantastic years. I would've stayed in that school forever if I hadn't met the man of my dreams (insert your AWWWW here), who was working in Washington state at the time. I had an amazing team, my principals were great, and the kids were all awesome. It was very hard to leave at the end of that year, but I was excited to begin my life with my husband.
I moved to Washington State at the start of my fourth year of teaching, which began my journey with fifth grade. I was still very sad about leaving my district behind, but in time I adjusted and found my groove. My students there were wonderful. I loved that I had students from all over the world. It was a truly multicultural experience and I learned just as much from those students as they learned from me. I really enjoyed my two years in that district and have some lifetime friendships as a result of working there. My husband's job would bring us to Virginia next. Though I enjoyed my time in Washington, I was ready to be somewhere with a tad less rain and thrilled to return to the east coast.
We moved in September of 2010, so I expected to sub for a year and get a feel for the different districts. The first district I applied to sub in had a full-time position open because they had to move some staff around. So on October 26th, I started in my new fifth grade classroom. The students had a bumpy start before I arrived, so the transition was far from easy. They had been through two teachers and weren't ready to trust the third one, but I was patient, kind, and respectful, and it paid off. The class did a total 180 by the end of that year and I was so proud of them! I stayed in that district for another year, but then I decided it was time to explore opportunities in other districts.
My next adventure brought me to a small district in a tight-knit community. I was one of seven fifth grade teachers in the only elementary school in the city, and we were an intermediate building with just 3-5. There are challenges that come with small districts, but I enjoyed the opportunity to wear many hats, and had the chance to try many new things that I might not have been able to try in a more structured larger district. I was even able to assist in writing our new writing curriculum and creating an end of the year assessment that aligned with our state standards. My time there was definitely filled with opportunities for growth.
Fast forward to August 2016. We've now moved to California and it is here that I will begin my next fifth grade adventure, back in a larger district, and now with common core standards. I'm excited to begin this next chapter of my life and see what lies ahead!