Hello dear readers, 


I have something to admit. Starting this fall I will be a traitor and am going back into classroom teaching. 


This is hardly a shocker to anyone who knows me – I came to this program after working with 6th graders for a year and somehow had fun. (I know, I’m a weirdo)  I have loved teaching since I was little, and have always been interested in having my own classroom. Ms. Harrison will be back in action and teaching English. 


You may be wondering – have the last two years been a waste? 


Absolutely not. This program has changed how I see and approach education in so many ways and I am so thankful to have done it. Without classes in lesson planning for the one time visit, I may never have developed a skill to make new information “sticky” or creating group dynamics on the fly. The past two years have fundamentally changed how I approach teaching and how I understand the American education system. It is a fraught, complicated, and well intentioned mess. 


So without further ado, here are the things I will be bringing to my classroom from this program:


  1. My classroom is a space to make mistakes and fail upwards. Everyone is learning and that can be uncomfortable. 
  2. You can close look at anything…even words and themes in a book 😉
  3. My classroom is a place where lessons are adaptable to the needs and learning styles of each student. (we love universal design!)
  4. My classroom is a space where learning is fun and activities and projects are engaging to students. I want my students to have options and choose how they want to show me what they know. 
  5. Grading is about mastery, not GPA. Everyone learns at a different pace, and progress looks different. Celebrate growth.
  6. Don’t take it too seriously. There are good days, and there are days where nothing goes to plan… or to both of your backup plans. It’s all about being flexible and adapting. 
  7. Hold space for tough conversations. They are going to be tense and uncomfortable, but it’s important to facilitate them with compassion and an open mind. 
  8. You are in charge and you know the plan – they don’t. You are a duck – graceful on the surface, but paddling like hell to keep it all going. If you mess up the order of things or leave something off the agenda, do it tomorrow. They won’t know. 
  9. Teens get a bad rap. They are not (always) trying to derail or undermine the adult in the room. Give them space and ways to lead. Maybe watch a TikTok or two – you may find yourself surprised by how emotionally intelligent these kids are. Plus if you call them out for making a reference to an inappropriate meme, you gain cool points. Be their uncle/aunt/older cousin. You are a sounding board for new ideas about who they are and what they want to be. You’ll keep them in line, but walk a few steps behind. Give them life advice and space to be silly. 


I’m sure there are many things I left off this list, but I am grateful to have taken a different path to becoming an educator. The past two years have been full of growth, and the next few weeks are going to be full of reflection on that. Also, if anyone has classroom tips (decorating, class management, how to stay on top of grading) please let me know. This duck is PADDLING.