There are so many things I love about technology. If you know me, this is obvious. Today I was breezing through my daily emails, as per my daily routine, when something hit me. It was an email I signed up for to use with my fourth graders called Finding Dulcinea. Normally over the summer I give it a quick glance and trash it. The site gives you important things that happened on this day in history. Some of them are lame, some of them are great conversation starters with your students. Today they told the story from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and the bombing in Centennial Park. I remember this very well, it was the day I finally moved away from Chicago for good. I pulled in to my friend’s house in Las Vegas, home of my new teaching job, and watched the coverage. We all couldn’t believe that this could happen in the United States. I think that these types of emails can really help put things into perspective. If you want one that delivers on a personal and social networking level, Memolane is great for telling you what you posted on Facebook and Twitter a few years ago. So I thought I would reflect a little on my teaching career and what the sixteen years have brought me.
1996- I started teaching a fourth grade with 37 students. It was a year round school, and I learned how different teaching in Las Vegas was than teaching in Chicago. I remember being very excited that there was going to be a computer lab with…..(gasp) internet service available soon. We talked about buying Reader Rabbit floppy discs in the meantime.
1998- Hands down my worst year of teaching. Switched schools and taught in North Las Vegas. The reason you don’t hear to much about North Las Vegas is….because they don’t want you to know it’s there. Used a program reading program called Success For All. I had fifth grade resource students in with first and second graders to read on THEIR level. The fifth graders found being in a class with little kids….degrading and acted out to set them off constantly.
1999- Redemption!! I was so ticked that my principal told me I would be moving with my class from second to third grade. I had just almost quit with these kids the year before. We now knew each other, I was shocked at well we did. I also took a class in Positive Classroom Discipline at the end of the school year, which was a lifesaver. I now had control.
2000- My life changer….I opened a school in North Las Vegas. I saw everything that went in to building from the ground up. Our staff was tight, and focused. It was a lot of fun that year. A young teacher caught my eye that year…she would be the future Ms. Samuelson, but for now she was just Ms. Owens.
2003-2007- The Alaska Years. Marnie and I decided to get out of Las Vegas and head to Anchorage, Alaska. We worked there for four years. Marnie worked at a different school every year, and I worked at a school called Willow Crest, but they changed my grade level every year on Labor Day. I rolled with the punches and learned how to teach split grade level classes. I even had a student, THREE YEARS IN A ROW. I wonder where Jeff is now…he was an awesome kid. Coached basketball and had some terrific athletes. One of my fifth graders, Ronnie Baker, has been a Gatorade Kentucky Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the last two years.
2007-and beyond – Finally finding a place to settle in Austin, Texas has been a blessing. We will be a family of six as we start my seventeenth year of teaching. I will also be able to teach to my true passion which is helping students and teachers use technology. I am looking forward the challenge.
Take time every now and then to read your email. A trip down memory lane may be waiting for you. I am truly thankful for all the experiences good and bad.