This whole year has been about pushing my limits. I knew walking in on the first day I would have my work cut out for me. I watched last year’s K kids grow and mature into almost first graders and at the same time, I watched the K teachers struggle and push and encourage these changes to happen. By the end of last year, these kiddos were still a work in progress, and most definitely headed to first grade land. This was a whole different beast of firsties than the crew I had currently. Changes were a must. I had to readjust and purposefully plan, do things I had not done before. Classroom management was CRUCIAL for these upcoming first graders.
From day one I have had to make strategic plans of action to deal with behavior, readjust how I teach, constantly rearrange my room layout, and move seats, often times on a whim. When talk of the cadre came about, many thoughts ran through my head. Well this is interesting. Do I have time? What will my peers think? Can I push 6 and 7 year olds to use iPads and technology with a purpose? Can I learn all of these new things while keeping up with the current? Is it worth that many days off? How will my students behave when I’m gone? Will they be upset that I miss one day a month?
It was overwhelming to even think about taking on this challenge. However, after a few days of debating and weighing my options, I submitted my application.
Just hitting that submit button pushed hard on the threshold of my comfort zone. I felt a wave of anxiety rush through me. What have I done?! Can I take it back? What if I hate it? What if I can’t keep up? Then I got accepted. Oh gosh, I’m going to miss so much school! So many sub plans! What if I fail?
Fast forward to now. The cadre has been a game changer for me. I have found strengths within myself that I was unaware of before. I have pushed my teaching to new limits. I have stepped SO FAR out of my comfort zone. AND I LIKE IT!
I cannot wait to hit the ground running next school year. I am excited to redesign some things and start with iPads and Canvas from the first week. I have been more successful teaching small groups while my kiddos are independently working on iPads completing meaningful work! It has been fantastic!!! Math time was a HUGE struggle for this crew. We just couldn’t do it whole group. I had to change something so I dove in whole heartedly and completely changed how my classroom ran during math.
Reflecting on the year, this was probably the best change I made. In addition to the match switch we also worked with Chatterpix and FlipGrid. These apps were amazing because I have so many kiddos who are not independent writers and through these apps they were able to express their thoughts and ideas successfully!
Cadre has changed my teaching mindset. I have always been an active learner, but this year I have truly stepped out of my comfort zone. Aside from Cadre, I have been accepted to Butler as a non-degree grad student beginning this summer. I will receive my certification in educational neuroscience. Signing up for school was another HUGE LEAP right out of my little safe box!
I am SO excited to start this new journey in my teaching career though and I can’t wait to see the affects it has on my future students! After this school year, my comfort zone has grown immensely.
Cheers to pushing those limits for days, weeks, months, and years to come! If your comfort zone keeps expanding, do you really even have a comfort zone? #foodforthought #challengeyourself #orremainthesame #whatcomfortzone
Today's thoughts come to us from Kaylynn Hooker. Kaylynn molds minds as a first grade teacher at Starr Elementary. She is the mother of 2 children (one biological and one bonus!), a wife, educator, pet lover and avid cross-fitter. She loves simplicity, family, friends and fitness.