Back on July 16, 2010, I was overjoyed to find out that my blog was nominated for another award, “The Versatile Blogger.” What made it even more special was that this award was first given to Susan Dee (aka @literacydocent), who then passed it along to me. Why was that special? Well, Susan and I started blogging around the same time and I am glad her blog received this recognition. I am grateful to her for the support she has given me ever since I began following her on Twitter. I consider her a valuable member of my Personal Learning Network (PLN). I believe it is from her that I found one of my new favorite phrases, “pushes/expands my thinking.” (Thanks, Susan!)
Susan blogs about children’s literature and teaching at The Book Maven’s Haven. I have subscribed to her blog feed in Google Reader and I always look forward to reading her posts. Just yesterday, I discovered that she also has a Facebook page and I became a fan.
Here is how this award works:
- Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
- Share 7 things about yourself.
- Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order…)
- Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.
Thank you so much for passing the award along to me, Susan. I am honored and it really made my day! I really enjoyed reading the seven things you shared about yourself in your post about the Versatile Blogger award.
Deciding on seven things to share about me was challenging. I thought creating a list might help–I am famous for my lists… and spreadsheets, too. On the list, I included things I thought would give you a laugh like my orange chicken fiasco. I also included things about my personality, like that I am a perfectionist procrastinator who after some reflection will answer you honestly if you ask, “So what do you think?” (Trust me, this is not always a good thing!) After looking over the lengthy list, I decided to follow Susan’s lead and share things that led me to where I am today in my career and why I blog. Here they are:
- The first time I can remember wanting to be a teacher was in the third grade. My third grade teacher, David Borke, made learning so much fun and I am delighted that he is now one of my Facebook friends. Thank you for the inspiration all those years ago, Mr. Borke. I’ve had many teachers over the years and you remain one of my all-time favorites!
- In high school, I enrolled in the secretarial/clerical program at our local vocational school and loved it. I was a great typist and loved learning all the latest technology–including how to use a standalone word processor which was basically a typewriter that displayed your typed words on an LCD screen. It also had a backspace key which eliminated the need for correction tape and allowed you to save your work. It was very high tech at the time! I also learned some computer programming skills and created my very own programs in DOS. My, how times have changed. While enrolled in the secretarial/clerical program, I also took French in high school and loved it. I thought I should combine the two loves and become a secretary in France. Then, I realized that to do so, my grammar would have to be impeccable and since that isn’t even true in English, I realized it was probably not a viable pursuit.
Note: Check out the programs currently offered at this vocational school. If teaching had been an option while I was attending, I wonder how my life would have changed. I am such a fan of this school and wish every high school student had the opportunity to take classes of this caliber for free. I know I benefited greatly from attending. Thank you, Mr. Chris Korbel and so many others at TBA Career Tech-Center! By the way, Mr. Korbel… I rarely say “ain’t” anymore. But, when I do, I think of you!
- In high school, I also took some sort of community service class where I volunteered at a local elementary school and my passion for being involved in the schools was reignited. At the same time in another high school class, I had to pretend to have a disability for a day. I chose to be mute. Wouldn’t you know that very same night, I ended up running into two people who used sign language to communicate. Because I had not forgotten the sign language alphabet that either Mr. Bourke or Mrs. Craker (my wonderful 5th grade teacher) taught me, I was able to communicate with them through finger spelling and a great friendship developed. Spending time with Harold and Kari led me to want to become a sign language interpreter in the schools. I researched colleges that specialized in this and found Golden West College in California. I moved to Orange County two weeks after graduating from high school, but had to wait one year to enroll to avoid paying out-of-state resident fees.
- While waiting to enroll in college, I worked as a clerk typist, putting my secretarial/clerical skills to work. During break times at the “roach coach,” I began speaking with people from the neighboring company who also came out for a mid-morning snack. This included the vice president of the company. He found out I grew up in Michigan and recruited me by saying their company sent trainers all around the United States–including Michigan! I was intrigued and became a medical billing software trainer a short time later. Yes, I went to Michigan and many other places around the United States for this company and loved it. But, all the traveling made going to college difficult, so I dropped out. However, after years of training people how to use our computer software, I realized that teaching was indeed the path meant for me. I left the company and went to school full-time to work on earning my teaching credential.
- Knowing I needed to make money to pay for school, but needing a position that was flexible and not too taxing on the old noggin, I took a short bartender’s course and became a bartender at a very friendly neighborhood bar that had its very own Norm. I am so grateful for the owners’ flexibility with my schedule and for all the customers who cheered me on while going to school. After completing the work for my teaching credential, I taught first grade and loved that, too–especially the teaching reading part… and teaching 40 first graders how to do The Riverdance for International Day! After five years, I realized I needed to learn a lot more about teaching reading to really help my students, so I enrolled in a master’s program for teaching reading.
- While completing the work for my reading specialist credential, I tutored students in reading. Obviously, part of the reason I did this was to make money to pay for my education. Surprisingly, I think it was one of the best things I could have done. Tutoring students of different ages with different strengths and weaknesses in a one-to-one setting while completing the masters program allowed me time to delve deep into the intricacies of teaching reading. When enrollment at the tutoring center declined, I put my secretarial/clerical skills back to work and worked as an office temp because it gave me the flexibility I needed. This also proved to be another great career move because I learned all about spreadsheets. Keeping track of data and being able to analyze it is very important for a reading specialist. After completing the work for my master’s degree and my reading specialist credential, I worked with struggling readers (K-6) for four years in the public school system. You can read all about how I lost that position here.
- And that brings us to the present time… For the past fourteen months, I have been looking for a reading specialist position. The severe budget cuts and teacher layoffs in California have made finding a position difficult, to say the least. When open positions are advertised, they are usually restricted to applicants who were laid off from the hiring district, making applying for positions nearly impossible. Trying to stave of boredom while looking for a full-time position, I began blogging about teaching reading and learned how to use Twitter and Facebook to push my thinking. I had no idea that this would be another surprising career move. It still amazes me how invaluable Twitter is to educators!
Finally, in August, I was offered a teaching position. Yay! I am now teaching teachers online in the very same masters program from which I graduated. Guess what? I love it–especially learning how to use all the technology I’ve been reading about on Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, it is only part-time and does not include health benefits. With my Cobra running out at the end of November and the job market the way it is, I am very concerned. My husband is a Mercedes mechanic and health benefits do not come with the job. Although I may be offered to teach more courses next semester which could lead to health benefits, there are no guarantees. My husband and I are now considering a move to his homeland, Denmark, because having health insurance would not be an issue–all Danish residents are entitled to free health insurance.
So there you have it… seven things about me you may not have known and may wish you did not know. (I bet you have also figured out by now that I am a bit wordy.) If you want to learn even more about me and this blog, please visit my “About” page.
Although the directions state that the blogs are listed in no particular order, everything in my being cringes at such a lack of organization. Therefore, I am listing them in alphabetical order. I am also purposefully not repeating any of the literacy related blogs I listed here, or any that were on Susan’s list even though I really wanted to include, Look At My Happy Rainbow: My Journey as a Male Kindergarten Teacher.
- Beginning Reading Help
- Blogging through the Fourth Dimension: Education musings, technology, and lessons; my life as a teacher
- Chocolate for Teachers: Sweet stuff from funny kinds
- Dr. Goodreader: Teaching readers how to diagnose and cure reading “clunks”
- First Grader…at Last!: Inspired by Junie B, but created for the real first graders…
- Ginger Snaps: Tidbits and treats for teachers
- How to Teach a Novel
- Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…: For Teaching ELL, ESL & EFL
- Literacy Builders: for the love of learning”
- Lori’s Lessons
- NancyTeaches: A Teacher Who Loves to Learn
- Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud
- Teach with Picture Books
- Teach Mama: learning in the every day
- Vocabulogic: Bridging the Verbal Divide
I hope you check out these blogs. I also hope you will share your favorites in the comment section below. Finally, I hope you did not find the “seven” things I shared completely boring. It was really difficult to decide. Although it is clear that I love learning and doing new things, I want you to know that talking about teaching reading is my number one passion and I do not think that will ever change. (Well, talking about blogging is kind of fun, too!)