My thankfulness continues into the new year.
When I was a child, I always loved school and wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. When I went to college on my way to being grown up, I started out as an elementary education major and never considered any other focus. I received my degree and later added a couple more. I went on to teach for 34 years.
I spent most of those years as an elementary classroom teacher, with three (l-o-n-g) years in middle school mixed in. The last ten years I was a reading specialist, working with students and teachers, and while I loved that position, I often reminded those I worked with that I would always be a classroom teacher at heart. I was blessed to teach at a time when nurturing and having fun learning were mixed with standards and memorization of certain math facts, scientific laws, and states and capitals. I planned my own curriculum units and believed in project-based learning long before that term was ever used. I loved every minute of those years: I adored the children, I appreciated being able to set my own path, and I valued the relationships developed along the way. In the years before my retirement, I was saddened by the drift (the march) to testing-based instruction, and I was able to hold on to my integrity only because the school administration where I worked did not force the staff to follow the outrageous expectations from the central office leaders in our district. Consequently, I was able to grow in my own knowledge and love for comprehension-based reading strategy instruction and deeper thinking skills. And along the way I met so many, many good books, which line my shelves today.
I believe God called me to be a teacher, and I was blessed abundantly to use the gifts He gave me to be able to follow that call effectively and with all my heart.
I am so thankful.