Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Along My Teaching Journey…

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, on March 18th, 1972, just three days after my twenty-third birthday… I was so ready to influence; moreover make a difference for our children… Being a mother of a two year old, I was so excited to make that impact!

I was so willing to travel ninety miles a day to teach at an elementary school in a diverse community…So, on April 1, 1972, I began this journey, to Browning Pearce Elementary in Palatka, Florida… At the time, we had just gone through integration, and that particular school had two campuses… One originally being the school for African American students, was now the school’s intermediate grades…And I was to finish the year in a fourth grade…

Boy, how unready I was… Yet so very excited…It was the last ten weeks of school, and I was assigned to take over a for a seasoned teacher, who was relocating to Tallahassee to be with her husband …

I might have cried most days feeling overwhelmed, however with the wonderful assistant principal, and a caring colleague…I made it through!! Learning so very much ; This challenging opportunity was just my beginning!!!

The next year I was then assigned to teach kindergarten …Not being certified, I was required to get early childhood classes from my alma mater, University of Florida, to be certified in early childhood … This wonderful placement was an opportunity for such growth… My love for young children, and an appreciation of diversity thrived…Many of whom had been migrants

My next opportunity in my teaching career lead me a little closer to home, now I was only traveling about 30 miles a day to a newly integrated community elementary school… Alachua Elementary…Another diverse population of young children…first working as a paraprofessional, then teaching first graders….

This placement was for sixteen years, from seventy four to ninty; These were exciting times for public education and children coming from diversity… I felt my passion for teaching flourish …The federal government was providing programs and resources for our children…
At Alachua…I have some of my fondest memories in my years of teaching…I had the wonderful opportunity of team teaching with Mary Towers, a seasoned teacher…We taught together for nine wonderful years…teaching  high risk first graders…in one such federally funded program…“Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum”,ECPC…

I learned so much about the developmental ablities of young children with the challenges they may face…  However, with a smaller class size, and the extra assistance of an aide… And curriculum developmentally appropriate….I was to learn later, that many of our children grew into successful adults…

Upon Mary’s retirement in 1984, which tremendously impacted my growth …

I had another strong influence on my career, team teaching with Wetona Johnson…We taught together for five years…teaching first grade in Chapter I; Another federally funded program giving young children extra reinforcement in reading and math skills…

I must also thank the the two principals I worked under at Alachua Elementary School, who guided this growth…

First of whom was Mr. Bill Irby…A man of tremendous integrity… When Mr. Irby retired…this wonderful community even built an elementary school in his honor…
The second was another strong leader, Mrs. Pansy Post…who became principal of Alachua when Mr. Irby retired…Mrs. Post brought such a creative flair to Alachua…

I must again acknowledge and appreciate these opportunities that instilled such values making me the strong teacher I was to became; sixteen glorious years at Alachua Elementary …

I was now forty years old…a seasoned teacher ready for my next learning opportunity…And now I was closer to home, by less than five miles… Terwilliger Elementary…A neighborhood school enriched with diversity….A wonderful blend of students…This was nineteen eighty-nine, and public education was changing, not for the better… Here in Florida, we especially felt this impact with the “No Children Left Behind Act” thanks to our Governor, Jeb Bush… If it weren’t for the blend of wonderfully talented and professional teachers; and that mixture of diverse students, these years were filled with such blessings… I was able to teach upper level students: a year in fourth grade, and five years at fifth grade…Both were great… I also had the opportunity to teach second grade for five years…Even taking an educational sabbatical where I was able to attend the University of Florida in graduate level courses in counseling education…

However, due to health issues, I retired in 2002… after thirty years… I was so proud of my years of inspiring and influencing children…

I still had more to accomplish in my teaching career….More children needed my influence, especially in the times we were heading, in the twenty first century…

So, I was so blessed to be able to resume my teaching career in 2008…at Idywild Elementary, a diverse population of children where many of my students were from challenging homes situations….

I was back teaching first grade…. where, with the many years of experience, I was able to provide my children a strong, structured, safe and loving classroom…. Moreover, with a strong support staff providing our children the best education we were able…And, given these times of less funds…more testing and developmentally inappropriate curriculum…

Our children were successful!!!

As for me…What a gift I was given…to be able to teach eight more years, thirty-eight in all …I then felt I was ready to  retire from my teaching career …in 2015…

These last eight years at Idywild turned out to be my most rewarding…I truly felt I had made that difference I so hoped when I began this journey!!!

And now have the time advocating for our children, and their right to a strong public school education….

Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

“Letting Go”…

I am now in the final weeks of my career as a public school teacher…🍎

wpid-c85dac670af71f8c58eff72fb48a475e.jpg

Reflecting on my thirty-eight years; I have taught so many children from grades ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade; dating back from 1972, up to the present.. I even had a wonderful opportunity teaching a college seminar for beginning teachers at the University of Florida, while on a sabbatical working on an advanced course work in counseling education…

I feel so blessed…touching the lives of so many children….

I did have to retire briefly for five years due to my health…However, I still was able to advocate for children in the court system during that time as a Guardian ad Litem…

Teaching, being an advocate for children has been my lifetime passion…

I have such mixed feelings about my retirement…

It is my strong belief that I am leaving at a time our bright intelligent children, especially those from poverty, who souly rely on our public education system are not being adequately represented…Our priorities for children are hindered by an emphasis on testing and collection of data…Our schools that teach children from challenging homes have fewer resources making teachers such as myself overwhelmed and devalued by being micromanaged…And making all this even more difficult;
fewer strong, young, professional teachers will no longer commit to such a rewarding career...

For this I have such regret…

As for myself…I will always feel the need to advocate for our children, and their right to a strong free public education…
And know that I really did make a difference!

wpid-66be3f3df00d82f0f29a26a5113ec34f.jpg

Posted from WordPress for Android

Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

“New Direction”…

Google Email:

New Direction

image

From: Janis S Sexton
To: Christopher Lake… teacher representative, Karen L. McCann… President of Alachua County Education Association

Details:

Dear ACEA:
I have appreciated being a teacher in Alachua County since 1972…On a personal level, for me, our district gave me that wonderful opportunity…
I am retiring this year and for these last 10 years, I  have been quite concerned with the direction our public education of children from poverty have experienced…

It is my belief and experience, these precious children have been so neglected…We have crowded classrooms with fewer resources…Yet demands are extremely unrealistic..
I feel our school district does not address the real issues…We are now going to close schools, shuffling our children, taking  more resources away…And I question how will that help these children?…
Young, strong teachers are so micromanaged…Will they make teaching a lifetime career?…And will those in charge want to acknowledge their dedication…with such unrelenting demands?…

Sadly I have kept quiet…however,once I do retire, I want to actively get involved…I can and do share my concerns on social media…
Thank you for representing us,
Janis Sexton🍎

From: Karen L McCann…President ACEA..                                                        To: Janis S. Sexton

Details:

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I am happy to hear that as a retiree you want to make your voice louder and will now have more time to become more active. I will see you at the ACEA retirement dinner in May, at least I hope.
You can join our union retiree group TRACE and start coming here for events .

Thank you for your love and caring of our most precious lives, our children.

Posted from WordPress for Android