Day 9: Dear Meredith... #AprilBlogADay Challenge

Prompt 9:
"What would you say to your
beginning teacher-self"?

We have all been there: if I knew then what I know now but in reality, we can't know- it's what helps us grow as humans, as educators.  This was my first classroom, before kids, before piles of papers, before learning happened. It was also my home for 5 years.  I loved this room.  The first thing I would tell my younger self is: Always create a space that YOU feel good in.  You will spend more time here than anyone else (even kids).  It is an extension and representation of you, what you believe and the teaching and learning that is taking place there.

Eventually I had a smart board and white boards, but this is how the school year started.

This is my favorite board of ALL time. Books allow us to travel,
even if real life keeps us in one place.
Armed with materials from undergrad, I showcased different careers in theatre.
I had not learned to laminate yet and this didn't make it into year two.
In looking back, I did feel good in this room.  It had a stage, there was space to create and learn.  All teachers should be as lucky as I was to have a room this large.

Second thing I would tell myself is: Always stand up for your curriculum, prepare as much as you can and pick your battles.  In the first 5 years, working in a Transfer School I wrote 6 curricula a year- each 12 weeks long.  That is 30 different curricula.  Out of 30, there was 1 trimester where my choices were questioned and challenged.  (Not for the right reasons though.) I stood by the challenged planning but untimely I had to rewrite 2 weeks into the school year.  I had other battles that last year and this didn't need to be one of them.  

The third and what might be the most important thing I would tell my younger self: Don't be afraid to move on.  Life is too short to be unhappy.  I should have moved forward after my third year, to find a new working community.  I would always tell myself, one more year.  I'll give it one more year. Then I should have really moved on after my 4th year, but again I gave myself another year.  I would tell myself things like: I'll stick with it- for the kids...until so-and-so I good enough to leave a place where I know I am good?  Can a be successful with a different population of students?  So much self-doubt had crept into my teaching practice, my confidence was gone.  I cried at work, more than I would like to admit.  I wish I had had the courage to do what I knew was the right move: leaving a place where I didn't feel welcome any longer.

My new classroom (above) after I made the decision to move forward.  
Me ready for a drama class at my new school, that I can teach in the auditorium (below).


  1. Cool thoughts. It reminded me of that recent Zombie movie with Brad Pitt where he says "Movement is life." Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love your classroom photos. I made a change this year, and it was a great, exciting change for me. However, I still had some of the doubt you describe. It's so hard to leave "our" kids.


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