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Another Milestone

Yesterday, I woke up with a small migraine.

The weather had turned a bit nasty, and the barometric change wreaked havoc with the capillaries in my brain.


The migraine became much easier to bear when I opened up my email to find the following message awaiting me…

Greetings AuburnChick:

Congratulations on completing the following Beacon online course:

Reading 5:  Demonstration of Accomplishment (NEW)
February 18, 2013 – May 19, 2013


What joy!

I had finished filming my final lesson last week and had nervously taken the video I’d burned to the post office Thursday afternoon after work.

I’d submitted the Vocabulary/Comprehension lesson…no surprise to those who know me best because I LOVE vocabulary.  I think my love for it can be infectious (or annoying, depending on your perspective).

Then, I waited.

I’d figured that I’d have to wait until sometime this week to hear back.

Apparently the mail travels quickly between Podunk, USA and BIGGER CITY, Florida.

My instructor was quick on the ball, as she had been during the course, and watched the video over the weekend.

How typical…teachers working during their “off” hours.

After reading the email, which is generated after the final class assignment is approved, I eagerly signed onto the site that houses the certification classes and pulled up the course log, where feedback for assignments gets posted.

The following are the comments my instructor provided.

April 14, 2013
This was a well-taught lesson. You introduced the lesson by telling students what you and they would be doing and why it was important. Your explanation was clear and concise.

I was so glad to see you walking around the room, checking in with student groups as they were sharing and then writing. This is an important way both to provide feedback and to maintain student engagement and on-task behavior.

The picture was an excellent way to keep the students interested and to help them understand how to look for “clues” as they revised their thoughts. Having them write down their thoughts was important rather than just having a discussion.

I can tell that you thought carefully about the amount of “teacher talk” you were using and tried to give just the necessary amount of information. The only time that this seemed to need revising was when you were explaining the context clues chart. It might have helped to ask volunteers to explain parts of the chart…the use of dashes, etc…. to involve them more with this part of the lesson.

Congratulations on completing the course! I hope that the process of developing these explicit plans, engaging in the self-reflections and watching the videos will all be useful as you continue to provide targeted, explicit instruction to all of your students.

Best wishes,

A good teacher will provide positive feedback as well as snippets on how to improve learning goals.

I love that the instructors I’ve had during this certification process have modeled what I, as a teacher, should do for my own students.

So now my Reading Endorsement process is finished.

What remains is for the “powers that be” (i.e., the District office) to submit information to my state’s Department of Education so that Reading will be added to my teaching license.

I’ve also heard tell that there is a stipend that is paid to teachers who complete the program.

I’m seeing some bling in my future as well as dog neutering (poor Gambit) and a bit of debt payoff.

Woo hoo!

Oh, and there WILL be a bit of celebratory dancing to Katy Perry’s Firework, via the Wii Just Dance game, as is my custom after completing intense certification programs.

I can’t end this post without thanking my mentors, Cinda and Barb, who epitomize what a dedicated teacher looks and sounds like.

I have to thank my friend, Lisa, who filmed two of the lessons…one of which was the one I submitted for the video requirement.  She gave up three planning periods to help me.

I have to thank my coworkers…especially those who have already completed this coursework…for encouraging me along the way.  Although the program itself is not especially difficult…until you get to writing the hefty lesson plans at the end…it can seem endless.

Without a doubt, my students receive the biggest thanks in all of this.  Without them, there would be no Reading Endorsement.  THEY are the reason why I do what I do.  Their cooperation and eagerness to learn is what drives me, especially on the tough days.  They were patient.  They willingly accepted the altered class routines on the days we filmed and went with the flow.  They also eagerly ate up the cupcakes they’d earned as a reward.


Last but not least are my friends and family who watched me struggle in this journey.

They listened to endless conversations that contained the words “Reading Endorsement.”

The Mr. provided so much support on the longgggg days when I sat for hours upon hours completing lengthy assignments.

He listened as I cried my way through a couple of them.

He brought in countless meals as I couldn’t bear to tear myself away when inspiration struck.

Working my way through Reading Endorsement taught that each lesson must be very well thought out.  It must include learners of all types, abilities, and interests.  It must include feedback from everyone (i.e., teachers should NEVER close their classroom doors and hibernate).

Teaching is a creative process where “thinking outside of the box” is a MUST if a teacher wants to fully engage the students in the room.

One of my friends commented, after I posted the good news on Facebook, that she knew I could do this “with ease…with [my] determination.”

One thing I am is very determined.  I’ve always set goals for myself, such as finishing college…finding a teaching position…etc.  However, it’s one thing to set a goal; it’s quite another to reach it.

I could not have done this without the help of so many but most of all my heavenly Father, who has given me a passion for my students and a passion to excel.

Reading Endorsement is another milestone in a long list.  It is a milestone I will look back on as a time of much growth and maturity in this profession I’ve chosen to dedicate myself to.

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