Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Me as a Teacher

Slice of Life ChallengePlease join the challenge over at Two Writing Teachers!

Monday was spent working with teachers. I am a facilitator for our county wide professional development called Literacy Journey. We learn about being readers and writers as we teach readers and writers. We focus on best practices and learn from each other. I've been part of this amazing group for the past four years and I feel so grateful! Every year we ask our teachers to write an initial reflection about themselves as teachers. I decided to write my own here today. 

Me as a teacher?!?! I'm beginning my twentieth year and I still have so much to learn. That surprises me. When I think back to my beginning years, I looked at those veteran teachers and thought...Wow! You must know it all!!...I certainly don't. I do know this, I still love my job. I love reading and I love writing and I love reading and writing with my students. 

Looking back, reading and writing in school look so different now. We write. We blog. We comment on blogs. We tweet...but it's all still writing. I am an active blogger and I keep a writing notebook (I'm on #58). These practices help me BE a writer! Reading...there are so many books to read! There are so many MORE books for middle schoolers: it's amazing!! We read books. We read blogs. We read on eReaders. We read graphic novels. We read picture books. We read when we listen to's still all reading. 

As I've worked on improving my practice as a teacher, I've found myself reading & writing more than ever! I can recommend books to students and teachers. I can troubleshoot writing assignments, because I've done them myself. For me in my classroom, being a reader and a writer is necessary as a teacher. Growing up my dad was the manager in his office. He would always be the first one in and make the first pot of coffee. He told me that it's important that he never ask anyone else to do anything that he wasn't willing to do himself. That's what I do when I read and write with my students and for my students. 

This year, I want to do a better job of balancing reading instruction and writing instruction. I feel like it's a see year, I excel at reading & writing suffers and the next year it flips. I am going to be purposeful in my time management to help me balance these two and integrate them in the most meaningful way. I also want to use a digital method to keep up on my conference notes. Those are my goals for the year. 

Many changes this year make me excited to see what's going to happen and make me nervous. I will keep my eyes on my reason for being students. The most important goal I'm working towards is for my students to be readers and writers as they leave sixth grade. 


  1. So glad to hear you excited about a new school year, Michelle. I remember that even in my last year of full-time teaching after 29 years I still felt that I had more to learn. Hey, I still do but writing and reading continue to fuel me professionally and personally, like you.
    I so hope this is a fantastic year for you.

  2. Michelle,
    I love your "lifelong learner" outlook and your belief that you must walk the talk that you credit your father with. I agree that teachers need to read and write with their students. After some personal angst over our reading or writing, it is easier to think of more supportive ways to help our own students through those times of trouble! Your goal of balance is so important as both may not appeal to all students and yet one or the other may draw them in to either a more readerly or writerly life. You are going to have a great year!

  3. It's the start if a new year and your goals sound attainable! I feel like I've done some different things for myself this year but for me, it's hard to get them into play since as a coach, many people don't like change so I have trouble getting ears ready to listen and doors open! I keep knocking though! Have a great school year!

  4. A great reflection, Michelle! I completely agree that it's important that students see us as readers and writers as well. That's one of my goals this year: to share more of my reading and to write along with my students. I hope you have a great rest of your week!

    Sweet Writing Life
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  5. I love the excitement in this post. I love how you live the readerly and writerly life you want your students to live. I am still excited about learning, teaching and the potential each new year brings. I still get butterflies....and I lap you by a few years!

  6. "He told me that it's important that he never ask anyone else to do anything that he wasn't willing to do himself. "

    What great advice!

  7. You simply are a teacher. Which isn't really simple. I love your reflection on how the reading writing world has changed over time. I feel like we are so lucky because we get to learn and grow for a living. I too go back and forth on the reading writing seesaw. I was just thinking about that this week. The best way for me was to purposely emphasize one area a day.

  8. I loved that you shared your ideas as a teacher, a lifelong learner, and that you are using your father's advice, Michelle. I am still learning and growing as a teacher-can't stop! Best wishes to you in your journey this year!

  9. So glad that you are still so enthusiastic about teaching. Unfortunate, I have known a few teachers that were not but still continued to teach. How sad for their students. As for knowing it all, I don't believe that ever happens. There is so much out there and new things are being added. I hope I never lose the joy of learning something new every day.

  10. Great reflections. Think how boring life would be if we knew it all. Writing and reading with and for students is one teaching expectation that brings joy. Cheers to the exciting year ahead of us!

  11. I can completely relate to this line: "I feel like it's a see year, I excel at reading & writing suffers and the next year it flips." I have a hard time balancing them both, also. Mostly because of time limitations. I wish I could have 2 hours of literacy time every day! But that's not reality. We'll keep working on it. Looking forward to hearing how your year goes as it progresses. :-)


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