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Throwback Thursday - Teacher Edition

As students, teachers, parents, and guardians head back to school, I've been reminiscing on my first few years in the classroom. I taught students with emotional and behavioral disabilities my first three years and boy did I L-O-V-E it! I've never participated in a "Throwback Thursday" so I decided to join in with the rest of the world for #TBT (Teacher Edition) to share fond memories from my first year teaching in the form of three highs, two lows, and one thing I wish I knew.


1.) I am proud of the relationships I built with my students. At the time I thought it was "normal" to teach a self-contained class of middle schoolers EVERY SUBJECT (except PE). I now know that is not the case (go figure). It was the grace of God that got me through my first year because days were long and it was just me and the kids. I literally had 15 different paraprofessionals and for a while it was just me. That considered, we were a family. We were the only class in a portable (The Portable 2 Crew) and we loved it! I tried my best to make learning fun, and brought my "A+ Attitude" daily. When my grandma passed away my students wrote sympathy cards which lifted my spirits, reminded me how much we loved each other, AND that I had lots of work to do with them academically! #itsthethoughtthatcounts #weallmakemistakes #whereishellvan
2.) You can't have a family without parents and guardians and mine were the backbone of my program. I was warned that I wouldn't get much parental involvement, but that was a lie. #stereotypesandjudgement The parents and guardians of my students were a part of the family. When I called, they answered. When we needed, they gave. When we went, they came. Now it wasn't roses all the time, but that is true of any family, right???

3.) My school had two classes servicing students with EBD. We also had a counselor and a behavior interventionist. This was the third layer of joy from my first year. We worked so well together and built lasting bonds (shout out to Ms. Sierra and Ms. Wright)! Together we celebrated student "milestones," encouraged each other, and brought opportunities such as field trips and guest speakers to the kids. They kept me sane and I LOVE THEM.


1.) I hope it's not surprising that as a first year teacher I STRUUGGGLLLEEDDD with managing IEPs and student academics! I tried my best to stay on top of student goals, but finding time to assess was my Achilles Heel. #dontjudgeme That year I had 6 (sometimes more) MIDDLE SCHOOL preps and 12-15 students with externalizing behaviors. I BARELY kept my head above water! If you are wondering about the number of preps....sit back. I had students in grades 6-8 and "taught" all subjects. There was a range in students' abilities, but about half of my students were at or above grade level! This complicated things because 7th graders didn't want to do six grade work, and 8th graders didn't want to do six grade work, ect, ect. The seminal works for RTI hadn't been written, but even if they had, who has time to read in their first year????While used different methods for grouping students it was ROUGH!
2.) The biggest low was that I didn't advocate enough for my students and myself. Teaching all those preps was CRAZY.  No one knew how much I was struggling (or if they did they kept quiet) because I made it look easy and never complained. This hurt no one more than my students. All of my students were children of color and the majority were from low income backgrounds. The stakes were too high for me to not speak up. If I had, I might might have been able to exit more students from the program which would have increased the likelihood of them graduating from high school. My students deserved more from me in terms of speaking my truth (the preps, IEPs, ect.) so that they could have access to more.

As cliche as it sounds, I also wish I knew about TPT! More specifically, there are a few too many resources that I wish existed during my first year. Below are a few I have listed, but there's sooooooooooo many more!!! If I were in the same situation right now, I would recognize that explicit instruction of character and behavior skills is critical, math is not my strength, ALL of my students need help with writing, and social studies is a real subject. In that spirit I have picked out resources that I would use.


Here's a surprise (in true teacher form),  if you made it this far and you are one of the first three people to comment, I will send you an item of your choice from my store. I got a little teary eyed writing this and thinking about ALL of the veteran teachers who shared resources with me and I want to continue to pay it forward! Blessings!

7 comments:

  1. Hi Tanesha, I've been teaching for 13 years and I still struggle with the IEPs & 504s in my classroom. I was a first grade teacher for 11 years, and now I am going into my third year in fourth grade. Fourth grade was a shock to me because the whole ELA curriculum was based on novels. TPT was such a help for me because I was introduced to mounds of paperwork on top of going through instructional materials that were completely new to me. Thank goodness there are teacher/authors on TPT who have materials that made my preparation far easier to approach. I also will be using paragraph of the week this year. Good luck on a new school year!

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    1. Greetings Ivett! Please check out my store and send me an email if there is something you want! #payitforward

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  2. Teaching ALL subjects to three different grades?! I hope they sewed you a superwoman cape after that year. I wish I had TPT my first year too. Such an abundance of new, innovative ideas. Thanks for stopping by my blog and good luck with the new year!
    Brynn Allison

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    1. No problem Brynn! Check out my store and send me an email if there's anything you want #payitforward #TBT

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  3. This is so encouraging! I teach MS as well, 4 core preps plus 1 1st grade prep and an enrichment course! Its alot to keep track of but I am praying my way through! Thanks for writing this! :)

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    1. You are welcome! Stay strong and let me know if there is anything I can do to help! I'd love to!

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