Let's backtrack a bit. My job search began in March when my university held a Career Fair. I briefly interviewed with seven different districts and I was able to see what kinds of questions administrators ask. It was great interviewing practice and it was also really nice to be able to ease my nerves of being around people of such high importance while being under so much pressure. Because I am a very anxious person, I definitely needed that. The Career Fair ended up being more than just practice; it became a great networking fair as well.
Trying to balance student teaching, all of my graduation requirements, applying and interviewing for jobs was not an easy task. However, because I had my eyes, head and heart set on what I wanted, I was not going to give up. I would not let my students down at the present moment because I was thinking about my future. I found a way to write my lesson plans, do my university assignments, and apply for jobs (sleep took a backseat during that time ;-) I must say, applying for jobs was like a full time job!
I went on one interview and to two career fairs (9 total districts) before I landed in the principal's office of what would be my future school. Although it is almost impossible for me to feel confident about an interview (I always feel like I could have and should have said this or that), the following day I was called in for a demo lesson. The demo lesson went incredibly well and then and there I was offered to teach at that school. That was, to this day, the best day of my life because I officially began my journey to my dream. After I was board approved, I spoke to the superintendent on the phone my words to him were: "Thank you for making my dreams come true." I truly meant that and I could not have been more thankful.
After graduation I became a long-term substitute at another wonderful school for the remainder of the school year. It was an extremely rewarding, unique, and wonderful experience. I was a resource room teacher in the morning and an inclusion teacher in the afternoon. I do not have a degree in Special Education, but I have worked with students with disabilities in the past. It was wonderful getting even more experience as a teacher. I worked with 10 different students individually or in pairs in the morning and I became very attached to them. I had a Morning Message every morning that students looked forward to. I wanted to get to know my students and develop relationships with them so I always had a question on the Morning Message that we would discuss before beginning our lesson. These questions were typically personal and fairly simple but they ignited great conversation between us.
When school ended, it was time for me to relax right? WRONG! There is no way that I could relax knowing that I had so much to prepare for my upcoming school year. The students that I will be teaching will have a first year teacher that did nothing but try her hardest to make sure they have the best school year yet; that is truly my goal. I will not let me being a first year teacher be a disadvantage to them. I am doing everything I can to prepare myself to honestly be the best teacher I can be. I am doing a lot of professional development reading to help me launch my school year. I have already read so much but now I use what I read to plan and put it into my practice. It is an amazing feeling knowing that what I am doing will be used so very soon. So far, I have read Reading in the Wild, The First Six Weeks of School, The Morning Meeting Book, I am currently reading Teach Like a Pirate, and I plan to read The First Days of School and Reading With Meaning right afterwards. If there are any suggestions that anyone has for me, please let me know.
Speaking of books, I have organized my entire classroom library for my students. Let's backtrack again so I can help you visualize what my garage looked like before I began. I knew that I would likely have to develop my own classroom library so I began scouting library book sales and yard sales two years ago. It was difficult because I had no idea what grade I would be teaching so I have collected many, many books. My garage looked like a library kind of threw up all over it (literally). First, I organized my picture books which I can use for mentor texts and figured out what I can teach with them. Then, I put away the very difficult books as well as the very simple ones. I am keeping them because you never know what you may be able to use them for! After that, I began leveling my chapter books. I was very excited to find I have a lot of books between levels M-P (the typical reading levels for third graders). I now have a library organized from level K-V for my students. Thanks to my wonderful PLN, I was able to figure out specifically what kind of books third graders really enjoyed and I went to a book trader and bought many of those as well. I was also very pleased to find I happened to collect many nonfiction books! I have so many great books about space, animals, oceans, etc., as well as poetry books, joke books, comic books, and more.
Besides that, I have been trying to fit in some personal reading, relaxing, and spending time with my family and friends. With all of my practice of fitting in so many things with a limited amount of time, I am actually succeeding with a very balanced summer of relaxation and preparation!
I am currently planning out my first week of school, looking at rules, routines, and procedures that I want to implement as well as writing up my "Welcome Letter" for my students and their parents. I am so thankful to have gotten a job so early where I have time to do all of this. Actually, I am even more thankful just to have gotten the best job in the world, my dream job, I am officially a teacher.