Sunday, August 10, 2014

We're Blogging!

I'm Kate, the other half of T.E.A.M. Togetherness. I have been writing on my personal blog for the last 8 years, but this is my first attempt at sharing professional tips, tricks, and ideas. When Angela told me we were starting a classroom blog I was over-the-moon excited, but a little nervous too.  For starters, I do not consider myself to be the best writer...I write like a speak, usually too fast, without thinking things entirely through. I don't do well with rough drafts and tend to hit "publish" before I reread. With that said, I will try VERY hard to proofread my posts prior to publication (how's that for alliteration!). 

Rewind. I met Angela in August of 2012. She was new to Elmbrook and Swanson. I saw her at our back to school inservice and immediately introduced myself. I had been teaching in the building for 12 years and couldn't imagine how she'd be feeling walking into a brand new school after having an established career in a neighboring district. From the get-go I knew I liked her. She was approachable and very down-to-earth. Plus, truth be told, she had on a darling pair of Levi's and I had to know their number! As the school year started our days were quickly filled with teaching and I didn't see Angela very often. Swanson is a big school- she taught 2nd grade downstairs and I taught 5th grade upstairs. Now you're probably thinking, big deal, but with a school our size and opposite schedules, you don't often run across people. That year though, I made an effort to get to know her. I found some of her handouts in the copy room and I tracked her down begging her for them. She graciously said "Of course!" and from that moment on I would make weekly visits, soon to be daily visits, down to her room. Her 2nd graders freaked me out a bit (they're so little), but in the same breath my 5th graders intimidated her a tad too. 

Towards the end of the school year I found out I would be leaving 5th grade and moving down to 4th. I had taught many years in 4th grade, but had fallen in love with 5th graders. I was apprehensive and very sad to be making the move, but I trusted my administrator and knew deep down that it would be just fine. Status quo just seemed to be easier at the moment. I remember being in the middle of teaching Social Studies when I looked up and saw Angela standing in my doorway. It wasn't a totally unheard of thing for her to be in my room, but when she asked if she could talk to the hallway or maybe the back of the room, I wondered what in the world was going on. Keep in mind, I was in the middle of teaching thirty 5th graders about the Revolutionary War. I sent them on their way to work and stepped aside to speak to Angela. Little did I know in that moment my entire teaching career would change. A split second decision would turn my professional life upside down and send me on a journey that would grow me in ways I didn't know possible. 

When Angela asked me to embark on this adventure I said yes without any hesitation...I had NO idea what the "Uncommittee" was, I could not comprehend what it was that was going on in her head, and to be quite frank, I barely knew the woman. We had spoken at work, she had shared a few student handouts with me, but it's not like I had known her very long. It didn't matter though. I was thrown back to that first inservice day, when I introduced myself and my gut said, "I like her." With a smile from ear to ear, I walked back into my classroom and continued on with my teaching. 

In the next few weeks, as news of our idea spread throughout the staff, I was faced with a lot of people who were apprehensive and questioned my decision. One teammate kept asking me if I knew what I was getting myself in to. My response every time was, "No, I have no idea...but I don't care. It's going to be great. I just know it." Now, as we start Year Two, I am confident saying that it was THE BEST decision I have made professionally. My excitement for teaching is back and I look forward to teaching each day. I have grown so much as a teacher over the last year, and I am confident that this year will be even better! 

Thank you, Angela for asking me to join you on this journey! I am forever grateful. 

~ Kate

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