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….

Thoughts About Children

The Hearts of the School…

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I have learned through all my experiences as a teacher, there are those special individuals besides the classroom teacher that enhance a warm and caring climate …for children…One of those is a strong support staffThese special people interact with the children out side of the classroom… And their interactions are extremely beneficial to the care and welfare of children…

The first I need to recognize are those busy, caring office personnel; never too busy, to handle the many situations that occur each and everyday… Even before the day officially starts…These wonderful people utilize their talents to answer concerns that adults may have, and that particular child needing assistance, and moreover they will always find the time to wipe away the tears when a child needs some love…The office personnel are most times, the first to meet parents and make that initial important contact, even before they meet with their child’s classroom teacher…

Another caring person we teachers can not say enough about is the importance of the school nurse… she or he is that loving pair of hands that is there for those medical needs of children … Along with the many medical talents and duties a school nurse is responsible for, besides the dispensing of the medications and taking care of cuts and scrapes … is taking that extra time to be a good listener to that child in need or just may need to look for a warm jacket on a cold morning to finding dry clothes if a little one has an accident…

A warm and caring climate would not be successful without the caring support of the custodial staff...They not only have the important task of keeping the school clean and safe…Being many times understaffed, they are utilized to their full talents and capacity…They also are another pair of hands or heart, when a child needs just that…love…

Through my experiences. I must add how the cafeteria and cafeteria staff affect the climate of the school…They are the providers of nutritious meals for the children prepared with love and care… The cafeteria is that meeting place in the mornings where all the children are provided breakfast… For many children this meal is free and most need to get the day started on that full tummy…and warm hearts…Helping with their success in the classroom…

Lunch time too is a very important part of the children’s day… The cafeteria staff provides another nutritious meal, however now due to government constrains will no longer be so nutritious, and may be no longer free for those children in need… Lunch time is a favorite time for children to socialize appropriately… Caring support staff monitors children’s needs giving them loving attention…

In addition, I can not forget the many other support teachers who reinforce curriculum… providing academic support for those children in need, and moreover another loving heart…

When children have the opportunity to play out doors, a strong Physical Education Program provides just the right skills children need to learn; how to play cooperatively with a love and appreciation for good health through their exerciseHowever, because of funds and schedules, this may just be once a week… A physical education teacher provides this important knowledge and the necessary skills children need with the awareness of each child’s abilities and development…

However, children may get another opportunity to free play at recess, which they need and love…and gives them more time to practice cooperation and social skills … This free play time releases their pent up energy from the hours in the classroom…Sadly, recess may not be allowed due to governmental constraints…

Art and music are wonderful programs where children have an opportunity to utilize their creativity and release emotions constructively… These creatively talented, loving teachers who teach the arts, give their time to children to enable free expression …Many children who may not be strong in academics, may find success, love and passion through the arts!!!! Music and art teachers are a strong support to enhance this creativity and free expression children…

We can not forget to recognize bus drivers who are a special group of men and women… who are responsible for children getting to and from school each day…Our bus drivers must take extra precautions for the welfare of children…. Children safety is the utmost importance…Children may have had a hard morning or a challenging day… The bus driver, with a loving heart and driving skills, must utilize all his or her talents making sure the children will arrive safe and sound…And we must say thank you!

A warm and caring school climate impacts the hearts of children hopefully enabling them to have a successful education….And feel loved!!!

Mission

“Our Children…New Year 2017”

Be the voice for our children...
Be the voice for our children…
Hillary Clinton advocate for children's right to a strong public education...
Hillary Clinton… advocate for  our children’s right to a strong public education..

Blessings for the New Year 2014

Be open for our truth that all children’s voices must be heard…

 

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All Children need a leader that will provide them with a strong Public School Education..

It is extremely frustrating and challenging for me to accept  that in this brand new year,  with the election over, President Elect Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos will be Secretary of Education…She has never been a proponent of public schools… Her focus will be on privatization and school vouchers for school choice…This choice for all children will be catastrophic for most children who rely on public schools!

Dedicating my professional life to teaching in our public schools… I know from first hand experience what such an impact will have,  when public schools  lose  resources affecting our children…

Just like it was yesterday; back in the Nineties when Jeb Bush was our governor right here in Florida. It was the beginning of privatization  with school vouchers…”The no child Left Behind” Act began, making testing and accountability priorities… School vouchers and charter schools taking  monies and resources available to our children and public schools….We were required teaching  a more sophisticated curriculum that has been characterized developmentally inappropriate,  with fewer resources…And we teachers evaluated unfairly and blamed for the failures in our public schools…

This loss of necessary revenues has led to overcrowded classrooms, fewer specialized teachers helping our children with issues impacting their learning… We even have had school closings that have caused these overcrowded classrooms with longer bus rides for our children…

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President Obama signing Elementary and Secondary Act on December 10, 2015…

We must thank President Obama for realizing our public schools needed his involvement… We have been dealing with those many challenges imposed from the Bush era…And this act was to put more emphasis on children in those young years, when learning is crucial to a child’s foundation…

Having taught many children from  impoverished homes… Knowing how  they  come to school hungry for what public schools  have to offer…Their families are just surviving, and it has been  up to dedicated teachers providing them with the necessary tools to be successful… a hope for a better future…

What saddens me is that we as a Country could have made a difference for our children… I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer for Hillary in Flagler County, in Florida… a predominately Republican County… I met wonderful volunteers who worked along with me to make that difference… We made calls and knocked on doors… Meeting wonderful people in our community who wanted a better tomorrow… Even with those who did not see the future as we see for our children…

And now we are left with a future very uncertain for our children and public schools… My hope is that we will realize what is right for our children before our public schools become severely affected…

 

 

 

 

Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Our Season of Thanks….

2c3d19e6946923cbac75990147e20316This time of year, back in the day…My classroom was the place for fun that inhanced our  learning….We had time to incorporate into the  curriculum,  learning through special art  and  creative poetry projects that were made for our parents, as holiday gifts…

We truly enjoyed taking  two special  field trips to  magical places that our  children got to experience first hand: visiting a pumpkin patch farm and  the viewing of the Nutcracker Ballet…Some of our children would never have had those opportunities…What learning!

We spent a great deal of time learning and appreciating different cultures and how they celebrated the season…And finally,  the children couldn’t wait for the culmination of the celebration of the season with our holiday cookie exchange…Then off for winter break!!!

It is my hope that  our public school teachers continue these beautiful traditions for our children…As we know, there are those children who especially need to know the Beauty of the Season…

This could be a Season of Miracles…

Mission, Reflections

School Spirit…

With the beginning of a new school year, and the start of a second year since my retiring…I can reflect those many wonderful memories I hold onto…

The one I do hold dearly is that all through my forty plus years in my career as a teacher…I can truly appreciate my children allowing me such a wonderful platform where my unique sense of drama and creative talents allowed me to utilize my spirit in my teaching…

In these present challenging times with fewer resources and many demands of teaching ; even after these many years; It was the children’s love and innocence that  provided me the passion to inspire them with my enthusiasm; my strong sense of  spirit…They gave me a wonderful audience where I was able  to utilize  my sense of drama and creativity to make each day unique… I  now must happily recognize these essential components to my success, as a teacher…

It was always my goal to find the  fun… And now, I can recollect  those moments of fun a teacher shares with his or her children… Through this captive audience, my children allowed me to keep my spirit alive…Keeping “the child in me alive”…

When I first began teaching in the early “Seventies”, I was young and fresh; our  curriculum allowed  time for the fun…We got to bake more often…Play and theater was a big part of the day…I myself enjoyed the opportunity to use drama in the classroom… I felt like I was playing a role, putting on a performance…to engage with the children…Never a dull moment…Each day was a new beginning….The years flew….

Teaching children of today, has  certainly become much more serious,  many more challenges, many more demands…Children needed  more from me than the “play”,  they needed mr to be a positive,strong role model… I  was then able to incorporate to utilize “my spirit to gain their attention…even managing behavior issues…

For many, I was  their  one positive constant in their lives… With my drama and creative spirit,  I was able to reach them, even for that moment…Hopefully touching their lives forever…

 

 

 

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Reflections, Thoughts About Children

“Season of Love and Acceptance of Cultural Diversity…”

Our class and school makeup, represent a “Rainbow of Diversity”…

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We are fortunate to be part of a school district that is within a university community… Because of this population, many of our parents come from other countries to attend the University of Florida;
Our school characterizes a rich blending of cultures and ethnicity… We have had many children from such countries as : Asia, Central and South America, and Africa…
In addition, to such cultural diversity, many of our children come from biracial homes… I have come to the realization, because of this colorful “rainbow” of diversity; our children have a better understanding;

Moreover an appreciation of our similarities, and acceptance of our differences…

This time of the year,“Winter, a Season of Love and New Beginnings”, is the perfect time to facilitate and model through  a variety of activities blended into the curriculum; Those important values of love, acceptance and an appreciation of our differences… My first graders, are so very willing to accept and appreciate our diversity…

What an opportunity this makes!…

Through my teaching experiences, I utilize so many creative activities through literature, poetry, music and the arts to help teach these  essential values…We learn how we and other cultures celebrate this time of the year… We even take our children on a field trip to experience a ballet… the “Nutcracker”…Our children are dazzled by this experience…

My children write poetry as a  winter project to share with their family utilizing recycled Holiday Cards …They  write thank you letters to teachers and helpers at our school… We even put on a play to share with our bookbuddies…All showing our love and appreciation…

Through our creativity and the arts… Love and Acceptance of our differences is valued, appreciated, and accepted…

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