If we expect our students to be lifelong learners, then it is essential we teachers are also lifelong learners; studying and intentionally seeking out information and new trends within the field. I have been fortunate to have some incredible experiences and training over the past six years. As my first post, I want to share some of those experiences and the purpose of ‘Vestal’s 21st Century Classroom’ blog and store. (What kind of teacher would I be if I didn’t set goals in the beginning)
A few years ago, the recession forced me to find new work and I became the Education Director for a children’s museum. It was even longer hours than teaching (who knew that was possible!?) and as a nonprofit the pay was small (and no summer break!). But, working there for two years opened my eyes to all that can be brought into the classroom to make learning more exciting. My team and I developed two programs that received national attention; an early learning program for low income preschools and health based programs for elementary schools. These programs won several awards and recognition from the Association of Children’s Museums, The Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the United States congress. Earning these recognitions enabled me to travel to conferences and symposiums to learn and discuss hands-on learning with some of the best educators from all over the world.
One thing I missed at the museum was getting to regularly work with kids and eventually decided to go back to the classroom. I spent four years as an upper elementary teacher implementing the unique approaches to education I had learned working at the museum, with great results! I also had the opportunity to continue learning by attending conferences such as the Daily 5 conference with ‘The Sisters.’
For the past six years I have had an opportunity to see many sides of education, attending all the conferences and training sessions that I could and surrounding myself with some of the best veteran teachers. This school year, due to a serious case of Lyme disease (more on that later), I have been forced to take a year off from teaching. Like most teachers, I can’t sit still for long. I knew in order to keep my sanity I had to find something productive to do that still allowed me to get the rest the doctor has ordered. Then I thought of this time as an opportunity. I would not be the teacher I am today without help and mentoring from people who were better than me. Now, I want to be that person for other teachers. ‘Vestal’s 21st Century Classroom’ blog and store allow me to provide teachers with resources, new hands-on ideas, and the latest teaching trends. AND I can do it all from my bed, getting the rest I need to beat Lyme disease! I look forward to growing, as an educator, this year with you.