WOW! Time does fly when you’re having fun!!! I have been so blessed to have been a part of this masters cohort. I find it bittersweet to reminisce over the last two years as I know this is the end of something phenomenal in my life. However, the end of this program is only the beginning of the rest of my career as a reading/writing teacher. I find it difficult to express the change that has happened in myself as a teacher and my students. There have been so many opportunities for change and growth that I couldn’t possibly put them all into words. With that being said, I do have to say that is what I am most proud of! I am proud of the change in myself as a teacher. I am grateful for all the resources, tools, and learning experiences that I have had which have made me a better teacher of reading and writing. I have a completely different outlook on writing myself which has directly affected the way that I view writing instruction in my classroom. I am now confident in the writer that I have become and I hope to never lose sight of this confidence. I have seen that this confidence over flowed into my students and what a powerful transformation that has caused in them!! They are only 4 but my goodness they are writing and reading and yes they are ONLY 4!!!! Proud, Amazed, and Inspired are words to best describe the reaction I have to their growth. They have proven that writing and reading instruction is needed and should be demanded at the very earliest experiences in school. They have proven to myself, themselves, other teachers, and their parents that they are ALREADY READY when taught in a developmentally appropriate fashion. Their growth over the last two years has been something that I will always hold on to and remember when hope seems lost. This experience will be the ammunition that I need to stand up to others when they say “they are only 4, they aren’t ready for that”. I am thankful that I have the data, the documentation, and the knowledge to prove them wrong. I believe in my students and I know if I can prove to my future students that I believe in them, they will prove to me that they are capable of learning.
Going forward I have no choice but to keep this flame going. I must press on for my future students that deserve the same chances as these students. I will continue to introduce writing and phonics instruction in my classroom. I will continue to have faith in my students, but also in myself as their teacher. I will be their model for writing and from me they will take confidence and soar. I want my future students to gain what these students were able to take with them and a little bit more. With time and practice using these strategies in my classroom, it is my desire to only see my students continue to benefit from what I have learned. I didn’t gain this degree for myself, but for my students! They are the ones that deserve the chance to change how the world views them. They have the right to be 4, but more importantly they have the right to be 4 year old authors and viewed as such by others. I will continue to engage my students in an environment rich in print. They will be referred to as writers and illustrators in my classroom. They will have the opportunity to experiment with writing without judgement or pressure. I believe that these classes have given us the opportunity to be better leaders for tomorrow. We can and we will be better educators that now value the importance of writing instruction at all levels and genres. It is my hope that this will spark a flame that will spread throughout our school, community, and into surrounding areas. I hope that we can make a difference through the work we do in our classrooms. I want to inspire others to be bold in their teachings and interactions with their students. I want others to see what these children are capable of and what they are ready for. I want to be part of the cohort that changed education for the future!! I hope you will join us!!