Embracing Change

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I have always thought of myself as someone who can embrace change, even welcome it.

For those of you who know me, you know I have taught fifth grade for the past couple of years. I found fifth grade to be an amazing experience where students are at the level where they can think critically, problem solve, produce and create amazing things with their learning. I truly enjoyed teaching fifth grade, and I felt I had really found my groove with the grade level. I built positive relationships, was able to successfully and effectively incorporate technology to accelerate my students learning and was proud of what my students could do.

Enter this past summer.
I found out my administration wanted me to move from fifth grade to first grade, and what did I do? I freaked out. I immediately started second guessing all that I have accomplished. Why was this happening? What did I do wrong? Why am I being punished? I didn't understand it and I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of moving from fifth grade, where students are independent learners, to first grade, where they are... lets face it, not independent at all. Even though I did have prior experience in first grade, I felt scared and nervous for not knowing what was around the corner for me.

So after a day (or five) of shock, tears, and anxiety, I stopped and thought more rationally. I realized I was thinking of this all wrong; I was thinking negatively. I was looking at this as some sort of punishment. For someone who tries to instill a Growth Mindset into their students, I wasn't having a very positive attitude. So I stopped, and I realized, this is not who I am. I am not that person. From that moment on I decided even though first grade is somewhat out of my comfort zone, I need to fully embrace it. Good teaching is good teaching, at any level. There is nothing that I could do with my fifth graders that I couldn't do with my first graders. I feel that I am a good teacher; I am passionate about what I do and I always try to do the best for my students.

My point is this... the second that I changed my mindset and decided that I was going to look at this as a blessing, was the second it all started to turn around. I became excited about it! Ideas started flowing faster then I could keep up, I created a long list of all these new things that I was eager to bring to my incoming classroom. The first day when I saw all of my little first graders lined up ready to meet me, I felt overwhelmed with excitement for what was to come.

I feel that I have learned a valuable lesson about myself, not only as an educator, but as a person. Change is hard, but it is how you react to the change that determines your path. I am immensely grateful for my amazing support system who helped through it and feel that I can appreciate the concept of having a growth mindset more than ever.

Stay tuned for all of the adventures I will be having with my Firsties! :)
Follow my class on Twitter @FVfirsties where our 'tweet spotter' will be tweeting the happenings and learning in our classroom.

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  1. I can only imagine who those first graders are to become as adults with having the good fortune of being shaped, encouraged and inspired by one of the most talented and intelligent individuals I have had the pleasure to meet and have in my life! Congrats Ms. Hesslein!


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