Month: August 2016

Celebrate What’s Right

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This summer, I made a move. I moved from Katy, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada. I moved from a school district of about 60,000 students to the fifth largest district in the country of about 380,000 students. To say there have been changes is a major understatement. I went from a district in which balanced literacy and workshop were vital to student success to a district in which (shudder) round robin reading is talked about although it is deemed not good intervention.  I have not heard balanced literacy nor workshop talked about yet. Big. Drastic. Changes.

It’s not been all bad or scary. I have a great principal and AP. They are letting me do my thing, even though I’m not sure they completely know what all of my thing is.  They hear my knowledge and research, and they can feel my passion for teaching. I may open a lot of people’s eyes, and may even scare a few.  That’s okay because what I do and how I teach allows for all my students to grow as much as they possibly can.

At the beginning of this year, our entire staff had to watch the following video. Because of the changes I have made, it really hit me. It hit me as a workshop teacher, and it touched me as a person.

Celebrate what is right with the world. It fits in with workshop as we always need to celebrate and complement what students are doing well. It builds their confidence and allows them to blossom into their potential. I think I’m great at doing this. I love to watch students sit up straighter and start to glow with pride. What I’m not good at though is using this in my own circumstances. In fact, sometimes I have had a pity party, especially if it is a huge shift I’m dealing with…like now. I need to celebrate what is right with MY world.

I can mope about not having many resources or I can celebrate that I have a classroom library started that I can continue to grow. I can freak out about trying to fit 35 fourth grade students in a room designed for second grade or I can work on an interior design award to make it happen and still have a meeting area. I can lament about that hardly anyone understands what I am doing, or celebrate that the instructional coach is TCRWP trained and my teaching partner has the same philosophy as me, even though she doesn’t call it workshop. I can complain that I have to adjust to the way things are done at a new school/district or I can celebrate learning and growing with other professionals. I get to make the choice. I’m choosing to celebrate. Even the little things.

As you are starting out this school year, some people with more changes than others, I challenge you to celebrate. It’s contagious. It spreads. It encourages people around you. I’ve watched it. Does it mean you can’t have a bad day?  Of course not! However, I challenge you to find something to celebrate on those days to make them not so bad.

With all the changes in my life, here is what I am celebrating.

  • My spouse got a dream job.
  • I’m back in the classroom working with students. I’ve missed it.
  • I get to share research and best practice with a brand new group of people. It’s already started. We are learning from each other. Awesome!
  • Even though it’s hot, there’s no humidity (that’s HUGE y’all!).
  • I got to watch my students’ faces as they walked into a classroom library they’ve never seen before and found out they have choice in what they read.
  • I am surrounded by mountains. Every day I drive, I get to look at them and find joy.
  • I have a great team partner. This is the first time my school has tried departmentalizing. We are so similar that it’s kind of scary.
  • I have friends and former colleagues back in the Houston area that I can call upon to help me continue to grow as a literacy teacher.
  • Our 13 year old dog made the long drive to Vegas and is doing well. He enjoys sunning.
  • Our kids hardly asked, “Are we there yet?” on our drive to Vegas as some great friends packed them a surprise bag to open every few hours of good behavior.
  • Vegas is a great place to get to with cheaper flights. We’ve already had some visitors and are looking forward to more.
  • We have a house that has a guest bedroom to house our visitors.

Now, I know our blog is still on the small side, even with many people reading around the world. With that said, I’d like to open a challenge using #CelebrateWhatsRight. When you are having a great day, celebrate what’s right on social media using this hashtag. When you are having a rough day, find something to celebrate using the hashtag.  When you need a pick-me-up, search this hashtag. Let’s lift up ourselves and lift up each other. Celebrate!

Callum