As my previous post explained, 2011 was quite a year! Well, 2012 began with all of the best of intentions and most positive thoughts, but life continued the barrage of challenges:
The new Texas STAAR Writing test was quite a challenge for all Texas 4th grade teachers. Being departmentalized and teaching 65(ish) students, added to my challenge. We did the best we could and while I think the "test" results were ok, the writing growth for our students was AMAZING. I hold true that it is ridiculous to judge a child's writing based on a standardized test. One of my students was taking the test the week after his father passed away... Was he really supposed to perform a the top of his ability? Just one example and enough said on that topic... Good news is my students loved writing FAR more and had far more "tools in their writing tool kit" by the end of the year than they did at the first of the year and I am very proud of them! =)
On a very sad note, the last 2 weeks of school, my father, who lived in a nursing home because he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, took a fall and broke his leg. This caused all sorts of other problems in a chain reaction that sadly and unexpectedly ended his life. Thanks to an INCREDIBLE teaching team and school faculty and staff, I was allowed to be with him the entire time he was in the hospital, and afterward was able to help with funeral arrangements and be there to support and be supported by my family. I sincerely did not worry about school during that time, because I am so blessed with teachers who are friends. Some even drove 6 hours to attend his funeral! I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for all they did for me and my family during one of the most difficult times of my life. I miss my Daddy. Though I did not live right near him, we were very close. He taught me so much, and above all else loved me unconditionally. I am so proud to know he is with Jesus now, but I will never not miss him. He is one of the biggest sources of inspiration in my life. I am certain I will write another post soon in his honor.
Lastly, after 7 years of teaching 4th grade, with 3 teaching Writing exclusively, I knew it was time for a change. I am excited to say I will be teaching 2nd grade next year in my school! This is going to bring it's own challenges and OMG, I HAVE TO CHANGE ROOMS, but I am thrilled for the opportunity! There are many, many things I will miss about 4th grade and I can see returning there, but it will be so much fun to see younger readers and writers. I am going to learn SO MUCH! It will also be fun to teach Math & Science again :) My hope is to inspire the teachers of younger grades to take writing as seriously as the other subjects and to inspire them to ENJOY teaching writing!
So...I'm not sure what direction this blog will go, but for now I will keep the name "Inspired Writing Teacher," as that is still my passion. I welcome any tips, comments, advice, and prayers!
Have a Marvelous Monday!!!
|Loyd Smith (Daddy) atop "Rodeo" - one of his favorite horses.|
|Loyd Smith -- WWII veteran U.S. Army|