Posted in Me, School

Tuesday Teacher Talk

Hello!

Well, a big part of my life (for almost twenty years!) has been being a teacher. It dawned on me that I haven’t shared much about that aspect of my life, and a few readers commented on my recent Three Things post about my current Academic Interventionist job.

So, today I’m taking a stroll down memory lane and sharing my teaching experiences through the years in my first ever…

My first year of teaching was in a small school outside of Columbia, Missouri. I graduated from MIZZOU in May of 2002 and wanted to stay there a bit longer (and I was dating Travis at the time). I taught in a very small school where I was the only English 1 teacher. I had ninth graders all day long (I was more energetic then ;). Fun Fact: I was also the cheer leading coach that year. While I may have had more energy, I’ve never been described as peppy. The coaching position was attached to the English 1 teaching position which I actually don’t think you are allowed to do! Ahhh…small town life. Anyway, I enjoyed my time there. One funny memory I have is that one day I wore two different black shoes to school…both had a bit of a heel. It was a day the cheerleaders had to stay for the basketball game, and I just remember wanting to get home and out of my mismatched shoes!

The time came where Travis wanted to move back home to Kentucky and get into the horse business. While we were serious and had discussed marriage, I just didn’t feel like I could move to Kentucky yet and he wanted to get settled with a job. So, I took this opportunity to move back home to KC. I taught at large high school with a diverse population, and my mom taught at the middle school that was a feeder school to where I taught. Since I wasn’t married at the time, some of her students got a kick out of the fact that they had Mrs. Galvin in 7th grade and Ms. Galvin for 9th (or 11th) grade since I taught both of those grade levels that year. I also had the school newspaper as a class and loved it! They were a great group of kids. I loved being closer to my family, making more money, and being in a bigger school. My mom retired at the end of that school year right as I made the decision to move to Kentucky with Travis.

We got engaged in May of 2004 right as I found my job in a somewhat rural district in Kentucky. Nicholasville is right outside of Lexington and is a great community. There are two high schools in the district, and I loved my time at East. I taught English 1 for many years. I was blessed to work for the same four principals for 11 of my 12 years there. They were amazing principals and great leaders for our school. During that time, so much changed in my life. I got married, had the kids, and met some of my best friends. It was also during that time that I earned my two Master’s degrees. In the fall of 2005, right after I got married, I started on my Master’s in Literacy. I earned the degree online over the next two years from the University of Missouri. I have always loved the literacy part of teaching English, and especially the reading aspect.

my classroom at East

With that degree, I earned my Rank 2 in May of 2008 which led me to a Literacy Coaching position at East. Our district was a part of a four year grant with the University of Louisville. During that time, I did reading intervention with students. I typically had two classes of freshmen and one class of sophomores. Because it was a grant, the boundaries of those classes were dictated by the stakeholders, and I couldn’t have more than 12 in a class! The other half of my day was spent being a resource for teachers. I worked 1:1 with students, I shared strategies with teachers, I facilitated professional development opportunities and more!

Throwback photo in my old classroom.

Also, with the grant was the opportunity to earn a Reading Specialist degree. I put that off for a bit because it was optional, and I had a lot going on. Finally, I started that degree when the kids were two years old and worked hard for a year to complete my 36 hours. It was definitely a crazy time, but I knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t take advantage of earning this degree, and it was paid for by the grant. In May of 2012, I finished that degree and earned my rank 1. When the grant ended, I went back into the classroom and taught mostly juniors and seniors. While at East, I also took on other roles as teacher rep on SBDM and splitting the English department chair position for a few years. The year my kids were in kindergarten, I knew I needed a change. As much as I hated to leave, I needed to be on the same school district schedule as them, and I was unhappy with the new administration at my school. So, I looked, applied, and interviewed; I was able to secure a teaching position at a school in Lexington.

my first classroom at my new school

I now teach at one of the largest high schools in the state. It actually reminds me of where I taught in KC. I taught English 2 for the first time ever when I moved to this school. I taught sophomores the first year, then the second year I had sophomores and two MTSS classes for students who hadn’t met benchmark on the English or Reading sections of ACT. We did other things like reading strategies, study skills, test taking skills and more. The next year, I had sophomores and one class of freshmen! Blast from the past! They were actually a great way to start my day. Then, there was a job posted for a reading interventionist at my school which I applied for and got the job in late October 2019.

My current classroom

My job title now is Academic Interventionist. It feels like I’ve been doing this job forever, and it also feels like just yesterday I made the switch. This position was created because we needed extra support for students, especially freshmen. I started by checking in with students who were struggling in their classes, and provided some support for them. Sometimes that meant study or reading skills, other times I helped them complete work, and there were times we’d empty out backpacks and get organized!

I’d barely started that work when in March of 2020, everything changed. During the pandemic and virtual learning, I still helped students…just via Zoom. I’d also make lots of phone calls home to check on students and set up appointment times to work with them.

Crazy enough, this year is the first “normal” year I’ve had in this Academic Interventionist position. We’ve been able to expand how we help our students. Thanks to additional funds, we’ve added more teachers and are now a team. I now focus on Social Studies and English classes because there’s a new counselor to now focus on students who are struggling overall academically, and there’s a science and math interventionist as well.

What I love about this job is meeting new students, and every day is different. I have a Google form, and teachers add students to it who need additional academic support. Some days, my room is a quiet place for a student to take a test, other days I’m reading chapters of Of Mice and Men aloud to a few students and then we answer questions, I help students brainstorm ideas for their paper and then complete an outline, and I also encourage students to use reading and writing strategies. I help students 1:1, pairs, small groups and even half of classes. I’m also an extra resource as I sometimes go into classrooms on days when teachers need an additional teacher when giving a test or sharing new content.

I’m also on various committees such as MTSS (academic support for students), PBIS (behavioral support for students), and 9th grade Task Force (helping plan intentional strategies and help for our 9th graders).

I hope this job lasts as long as possible. I love it. Unfortunately, in education, the funding for these positions doesn’t always last forever. That being said, this job has been just what I’ve needed at this point in my career to have some flexibility in my day (sometimes, in education, you feel like you are stuck in a rut!), help students in a different way, and use some of my other teaching skills and credentials.

Favorite Education Quotes:

You know as an English/Language Arts teacher I love a good quote. Here are some of my faves:

  • “Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.” -Unknown
  • “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” -William Butler Yeats
  • “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

Shew! That was a long post. I guess when you’ve been teaching twenty years, you have a lot to recap! It’s really crazy to me that I’m 2 / 3 of the way finished with my teaching career. I swear I still remember what it feels like standing in front of my first hour class on my first day of teaching in 2002. Time flies.

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know if you have any questions! Also, if you are a teacher (or have been one!), share with me how many years you’ve been teaching, and what you teach. Teachers are a tribe that sticks together!

12 thoughts on “Tuesday Teacher Talk

  1. This position is so needed! I don’t think we have this and we need it! We have some other positions that help struggling students but not anyone solely academic. If I have a student failing my class, I look at their other grades and Spanish 3 is the least of their worries usually! Lol!
    Year 28 for me – 4 years at Woodford Cty, 2 years at Shelby Co., rest at Ballard. It’s been a wild ride and I don’t feel like I’m ready to get off yet but seeds are being planted. This year is hard.
    So interesting – great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes checking grades is always eye opening 🤣 i don’t think I knew you were in other districts before Ballard. You are so close to being finished…but I know what you mean…i hope we can get back to easier times soon.

      Like

  2. What a journey! Your current role sounds so interested and very much needed. I hope it lasts a long time too. I taught high school science for 10 years before I got married and had kids. I taught Physical Science, Biology, AP Biology and Aquatic Science through the years, and also served as department chair for the last few years. The high school was large and diverse here in Houston. I loved it, but have enjoyed staying home too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish more schools had intervention teachers like this! I hope you job lasts for a very long time. I worked for a few years as a teacher before staying home and homeschooling my boys but I was at the complete opposite end of the spectrum; my masters is in Early Childhood Education so I worked with students from pre-k through grades 3 (sometimes 4). I loved it but we live in a very rural area and the funding just isn’t there for much of anything at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was so wonderful to read- those kids are so lucky to have you! Your jobs all sound amazing for different reasons and I think it was great that you have experienced both the small and large environments- wishing you much continued success!

    Like

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