As we wind down the year, I find myself reflecting on the way this blog has grown, feeling very grateful that so many people care to read and share what I write. I’d like to share 11 posts I wrote this year that I feel represent the niche I’ve carved for myself in the blogosphere: inspiration from inside the classroom.
In no particular order:
1. Dear Me (On the Eve of My First Year Teaching) A letter to my former self addressing the ups and downs of my career so far, and many of the lessons learned along the way. This post was Freshly Pressed and nominated for an Edublog Award. I am still amazed by both.
2. 10 Reasons Your Students Should Be Blogging Inspired by my students’ excitement about blogging, I wrote this, watched it take off, and was thrilled to discover how many people said they would bring this to administration, colleagues, and parents.
3. 10 Ways to Be a Terrific Teacher I originally intended for this to lean more toward pedagogical ideas, but it became more about ideas for being more human toward students. I try to hold myself to these standards in the classroom (and don’t always succeed). I feel they are important points for every educator to consider.
4. I Pass On Your Pity Incensed by the exchange I had with a neighbor about what I do, I got off the elevator and immediately wrote this tribute to my students and a rebuke to all the naysayers.
5. Mr. Rogers Was a Great Teacher One of my colleagues jokingly refers to me as “Mr. Rogers” because I talk a lot about building kids up and accepting them for who they are, not rejecting them based on who we want them to be. Much of that mentality comes from all those hours in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood when I was a kid. Today, watching clips of him on Youtube fills me with nostalgia for my childhood days, but also reaffirms the power of his message as it applies to my students today.
6. I Was a 6-Year Old Freak This one came about in response to Vicky Loras’ What’s Your Story challenge. I shared my own experiences having to use a wheelchair for just a day or two, and the discomfort I was caused by all those inquisitive eyes. My perspective was very much informed by that time in my life.
7. Passion for the Passionless I thought about colleagues who seemed to be so worn down by uncontrollable circumstances that it seemed they forgot their original purpose as a teacher: the students.
8. Reinventing the Teacher I share this because it represents a major turning point in my career. This post came about from a series of conversations with administrators as I transitioned from upper grade general ed to lower grade special ed. The conversations and my subsequent steps have definitely made me a better teacher now than I was a year ago. It just goes to show you that complacency can be dangerous.
9. A Little Perspective, Please I am a big believer that we need to be sensitive to our students’ realities outside of our classrooms. This means that sometimes, homework and test scores aren’t going to be their top priority. Maybe we should remember that.
10. How Will YOU Change Lives This Year? I posed a series of questions to readers challenging them to choose the way they would change their students’ lives – for the good or for the bad – in the new school year.
11. Know Them Before You Judge Them It is so important to know our students before we let preconceived notions and prejudices cloud or perspective of who they are or what they can be.
Fifty days ago, I didn’t think I’d ever get to 100 straight days of blogging. Thank you for joining me and keeping me going! Next stop: 150!