Reap the Benefits

The Need For Improvement

Slowly, I pull the phone down from my ear. Panic starts to set in. How? Why? What did I do wrong? With my mind a mess, I keep walking and quickly find myself walking around my neighborhood. An hour later, I walk back inside and soak in my sorrows.

I didn’t receive a job that I held for two years as an LTS. Everything went so well during my first two years, that I started to question what I did wrong. Teaching is my passion and the thought of not having a job teaching haunted my dreams for nights to come.

Eventually, I redirected my mind on growing. We all want to become better at what we do. Especially something we’re passionate about, but growth is change and change takes time. It must. Improvements can’t be rushed along or else things crumble. With an endless list of areas I would like to grow in, I stepped back and picked a few to focus on.

Reap the Benefits

After not getting the job, I set time aside each day to read, ensuring this wouldn’t happen again. I felt like I let myself down but rather than staying down, I rose to the occasion. A few weeks later, I was offered a job in Smithfield and things turned out great. Most importantly, all of my professional development over the summer is paying off, big time. I see the classroom in an entirely different light. I feel more focused and well equipt. My students are more successful and I’m more capable of helping my colleagues on a daily basis.

While this growth, fueled by my temporary unemployment, makes me a more effective educator, the best part of all is that I truly enjoy the career that I’ve chosen. I’ve found not only my passion but purpose. Everyday is an opportunity to learn with my students and create something new.



Gamification has been a word stuck in my head ever since I became a teacher. I’ve always loved video games, especially the level of engagement they provide. Last year I started to brainstorm and plan out how I could gamify my class but with limited time and resources, I gave up for the time being.

Thankfully, Michael Matera has published his new book Explore Like a Pirate. It’s all about gamification and how to go about implementing it into classrooms. Needless to say, I couldn’t put down the book once I started. It’s like a dream come true for me. I honestly felt a stirring inside of me while I read.  I still have some reading to finish but the part I’m currently reading is all about planning things out so I’m taking it slow. I can tell this will be a book I reference back to many times. Rather than wait for more time, I’m going to make time. I would love to experiment with some gamification in at least one unit this year. I can’t wait to see how my students react when they realize I’ve created a game for them to play in ELA while learning.