I love my job most days! We all have our moments in life where we don’t enjoy each day, but I throughly enjoy my job in education. How exactly did I get here though?
I grew up in a family of educators. I was the kid in school that swore I would never be a teacher as well as live in my hometown. After 2 years of pre-nursing requirements, I didn’t truly feel at home with the thought of going to nursing school (or most likely leaving IU to attend IUPUI). I spent some time taking every class of every school at IU and then landed in education. The very first class at IU for the School of Education was actually in a classroom. I instantly fell in love with the idea of being a teacher. Not because I couldn’t do anything else, but because I loved being in a classroom full of children.
After a few tears at Red Lobster (a story for a different day), I declared elementary education as my major my junior year of college and stayed at Indiana University. If you would have asked me then if I would ever leave the classroom, I would have thought you were crazy. Upon graduation, I moved home and started teaching in Muncie Community Schools at Storer Elementary. (At the same time, I re-met my husband as he was preparing to leave for Iraq.) I loved every minute of being a classroom teacher and coaching various sports.
While teaching a 3/4 split classroom (I think I had twelve 4th graders and eighteen 3rd graders that year), I was told I would be missing 5 days in my classroom to attend 8 Step training in Indianapolis. I was not exactly excited! However, that training changed my career and passions for education. I began to learn how to use my data more efficiently and really embraced the idea of “our” students instead of “my” students. I learned that by working together “my” students truly benefitted. Soon I was put on curriculum committees to develop curriculum maps and assessments for the entire district. I enjoyed breaking down my curriculum and really looking at how we assess our students. I wanted to prepare my students the best way possible (this passion is still there, but has changed in the past couple of years). I knew then I wanted to become a Curriculum Director one day.
As a teacher, I loved trying and learning new things, but soon learned that I had to only change a few things in my classroom at a time in order to survive. I became passionate about Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop while teaching my 3/4 split classrooms. I knew there was no way I could teach two basals at the same time, so I relied on what I learned during student teaching at Helmsburg Elementary School to create my own Reader’s Workshop and then I purchased the Lucy Calkin’s Writer’s Workshop. I through my entire life into being a teacher or a coach. (I even had a credit card bill to prove it for a long time!). My husband used to say that my hobby was teaching!
Unexpectedly, I had an interview at Shenandoah Elementary School for a 5th grade teaching position. The thought of coming back to my hometown was scary for me, but also a place where I knew I would be willing to send my own hypothetical children some day. I wasn’t leaving Muncie because I was unhappy, I was leaving because literally Shenandoah fell from the sky and hit me on the head. After a year, I was moved to a Data/Literacy position where I created a school data wall and taught Tier 3 intervention.
Two years ago I was presented with the opportunity to move to Central Office to become the K-12 Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Again scary for me, but also my “dream” job. I wasn’t confident in my skills for secondary education, but I knew I would be willing to learn as long as people gave me a chance. The staff at Shenandoah School Corporation are incredible. They listen to all of my crazy ideas!
Teaching students is still my passion! I can talk for hours about it if you let me! I feel like in this administrative position I still get to be a “teacher”. My students are sometimes now what others would call “teachers”; however, I love the days I get to spend observing teachers or working with teachers. My goal is to never lose sight of the “teacher” inside of me. The world is constantly changing, which also means education should be changing. I feel it is my job to continue to learn as much as I can about the world of education. That’s where my blog title came from! “Investing to Learn” is my committment to learn everything I can and I’m hoping that the reflection that I desperately need to remember will come from this blog!