I am excited for the year ahead – but first, I need your help in knowing what next year is going to look like.
Yes, your help!
What next year holds, is, in large part up to you. I have my plans, my ideas, my goals….what about you?
I know some of you may have sneaked a peek at the letter I sent your parents, or may already know me, so this next part may be a bit of a review. Too bad. Keep reading anyway. 🙂 I have been teaching for 13 years and every one of them has been at Robinson! I even did my student-teaching there long ago, so Robinson is definitely my home-away-from-home. In my real home–which is in St. Peters–I have a fabulous family that I love dearly. My husband, Grant, is a teacher, too, in Wentzville. He has taught 4th and 5th grade like me, too. Fun, right? We have a 6YO, Riley, who will be at Robinson, too (he has Mrs. Appelbaum). I am sure you’ll get to know him really well as we got through the year together. We also have a little girl named Allison–we call her Allie–who is 2 1/2. We LOVE (yep, love) Disney World, and travel there often. We also just like to hang out together at home (or anywhere, really) and spend time with each other. So that’s me. What about you? Can’t wait to learn more about YOUR family!
Like I said, I have been teaching for 13 years, and every year, I begin the school year as a different person. I decide on that first day and then every day thereafter, who I am as a teacher. What is important to me. What I want to accomplish. What I want my students to see when they come to school. I choose that. I don’t let other people tell me who I will be and I don’t just be who I think other people want me to be. I read, I think, I write and then I decide.
Who Will You Be? (This is a big question – take your time to think about this!) Will you be the kid who has brilliant ideas? The kid who loves math? The kid who looks to help other people? The kid who……? Fresh start. Clean slate. We all get one (that includes you!) and we all get to begin fifth grade as the person we want to be.
What is important to you? (This is another big question and one I am really curious about so I will ask it twice.) What is important to you?
There are lots of things that are important to me: my husband and my kids, sharing ideas, reading, writing, being able to have a conversation, making things, discovering things, sharing what I know, sleeping in, staying up late and knowing when to say sorry.
As a teacher, there are a few more things that are important to me:
* YOU!: You’re the reason I’m there, after all right? It is important for me to get to know you, and know you well. Not just as a learner, but as a kid, too. I want to know what you like, what you don’t like, what makes you tick. Who you are. That’s ok, right? 🙂
* Respect: If you’ve been around Robinson for longer than 5 minutes you know that respect is a HUGE part of our culture. It’s pretty much what we’re all about. I expect respect to be a huge thing in our classroom. I will respect you, and I expect you to respect me, as well as everyone else in our community. This counts when we agree and even when we don’t. I have a saying that I learned from my good friend Mrs. Ford years ago, that is really important with this whole respect thing. It’s this: You are not the sun. In other words, the world does not revolve around you, and there are lots of other people in our classroom that have needs, wants, likes, dislikes, etc., that we need to take into account. I love you, but I love everyone else, too!
* Mistakes: I expect you to make them. Yep, I said it. I want things to be hard for you. I want you to struggle. If you need more than one try or lots more practice with a concept, you’ll get it. If you need to show me what you know in a different way, then we’ll figure it out. If you need me to repeat something or explain it for you in another way, I’ll do. If you need a big, fat challenge–watch out, you’ll get one! No, I’m not crazy, I just want you to try things that may be tricky at first. I want you to learn to work through it when it’s hard and figure out what to do. I want you to feel the joy and success when you learn something new and it’s because you persevered! Not everything will be easy here. And that’s ok. We’re in it together and I’ll help you all along the way. 🙂
* Collaboration: I love to share ideas and get ideas and try new things and even when those things fail, I know I am just one step closer to finding what does work. I love to work with other teachers to figure things out and find new solutions to old problems. But just as much as working with adults, I love to collaborate with students. I love to hear what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling about things, what you think would be the best way to learn something. Even when you don’t agree with me, or have a plan that is completely different than mine, I want you to share it! It’s our classroom, and often your ideas are WAY better than mine. I know I’ll share lots of examples with you about how that’s happened to me over the years.
Aside from collaborating with me, though, you’ll be collaborating with each other! You will have lots of opportunities to share with your classmates, to give your ideas, ask questions, prove your reasoning and challenge each other. I expect that we will work together to help EVERYONE in our class be the best they can be. Together we’ll achieve much more than we would if we tried to do it on our own. 🙂
I like to say that in our room, everyone is a teacher and a learner.
* Questions: I found a quote I love by a guy named Tony who loves learning. “No one cares what you know. What the world cares about is what you do with what you know.” Think about that. Chew it over. We can all Google and find stuff out – but then what? After we know stuff, what we do with it = inquiry. And that is what the world cares about. Me too. You?
* Time is precious: So are you. I don’t like wasting time and I especially don’t like wasting your time. That means I try to come to school ready, fired up, and prepared to make a ruckus (I like to think that a ‘ruckus’ is the sound your brain makes when it is challenged to be creative, thoughtful, inquisitive and world-changing – it is a beautiful sound). I hope–and expect–that you will come into our classroom every morning ready to learn, ready to work hard, ready to put your very best foot forward. We only have so many days together, and we need to make the most of every single one of them. We’ve got so much to do! 🙂