'4B' was the code our school secretary used to easily identify our class back when I taught 4th grade. 4 = 4th grade. B = Bongers. I later went on to teach Language Arts at a middle school, so this blog documents the learning we did in reading and writing each day, in addition to many posts from when I taught fourth grade. I figured keeping it all in one place was better than having two separate blogs. One more thing: please feel free to PIN anything you see!
My story begins in 1986 when I started at McKinley Elementary School in Appleton, Wisconsin. I loved all my elementary school teachers while growing up, but my first grade teacher, Mrs. Kester, was by far my favorite. School was not a place where I felt I had to be, rather, with Mrs. Kester, school was a place where I wanted to be. I remember Mrs. Kester giving us the strange assignment to collect creepy black and yellow caterpillars on our way home from school one day. Later I discovered she made us collect the creepy crawlers so we could learn of the life cycle that turned them into beautiful black and orange monarch butterflies. I also remember telling Mrs. Kester I jumped 433 times in Double Dutch jump rope at recess. With a huge smile, she hugged me as if I had just conquered the world.
From the very young age of 6, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Back then, my motivation to become an elementary school teacher lied solely in the fact that I loved school. I loved being there, I loved doing projects, I loved learning, and I loved being a kid. Later on, I understood that I could not stay in elementary school forever as a child. The next best way to stay in elementary school, as an adult, was to become a teacher.
It was not until middle and high school that I truly started to realize that not all my classmates felt as passionate about school as I did. Although it was not the case for everyone in my school, I saw many students disrespect their teachers. I saw many students get bad grades on tests and not even care. I saw many students skip school because it was honestly the last place they wanted to be. While I could not wait to go to school, some students could not wait to leave it. I sadly realized that not all kids had a great teacher in their lives that asked them to collect creepy bugs. Not all kids had a great teacher in their lives that gave out award-winning hugs for jumping rope. Simply, not all kids had a Mrs. Kester that made them excited about living and learning every single day.
The sad realization that some students hated school became the exact reason I wanted to teach. Like Mrs. Kester, I wanted to create positive experiences in elementary school so that all children would feel successful and confident about themselves as learners. From high school on, I never doubted the fact that I wanted to be a teacher. It was in my life plans.
In 2003, I earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education: Grades 1-6 from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and was hired just weeks before graduation to teach fourth-grade at Barrie School in Fort Atkinson. It was my dream come true! In 2007, I earned my Master's degree in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. I continue to love growing and learning, both personally and professionally. In 2012, I decided to take on a whole new world taught Language Arts at Fort Atkinson Middle School. Middle schoolers are seriously the quirkiest, funniest, weirdest, most fantastic people if you give them a chance! Because I value learning just as much as I value teaching, I continued my professional studies through Viterbo University and acquired my Principal's License in May of 2015. I wonder where my journey will continue next...