Throughout elementary school, I used to play teacher in my room when I got home. I'd write the names of students in my class on pieces of paper and put them in seating charts on my floor. Being the oldest cousin of fifteen, I've always been around kids and realized I really loved the curiosity, individuality, and potential they naturally come with. Being a teacher was always my goal, my dream profession.
Nineteen years ago when I started teaching, I believed so much in the student it was palpable. I'd enter the classroom with so much hope and excitement, I would spend hours planning lessons to be perfect for my students. Community Meetings, looking forward to and creating engaging lessons, and spend time connecting standards to all levels of learners was something I approached with such excitement, it was hard to sleep. After teaching first through fifth grades at six different school sites in two different states changed perspectives and I could see the kids were the same but something was different.
No Child Left Behind, Response to Intervention, Overabundance of academic Standards, high-stakes testing, and budget cuts started to cloud up a portion of my childlike fervor. My role as a teacher became more and more based on decisions made by laws passed or by people who haven't held a teaching position in what seemed like a million years. Getting through the curriculum, hurrying, dropping some of the extras to make room for the "standardization." And the worst thing was I was starting to believe it.....And then "it" happened:
I'm three years into working in a classroom where my students each have technology at their fingertips and access to the world as we know it. It has brought me back to those early days of teaching where I believed in the potential that kids can change the world. Seeing this engagement, potential, and ability to capture learning in ways I never thought possible, it has rubbed away the negativity and made me believe in students again.
This matters and I am tired of being silent. I am so thankful many of the colleagues around my district and on Twitter who are raising their voices as well. So my plight to making the world a better place is to raise my voice and stand-up for the power of our students, to be the leaders, creative innovators, and amazing teachers they are, one child at a time.