Teacher Resources

Secrets from a non-tenured teacher- Guest Post

Guest Post by |Erin Klein|

What I’ve realized from my brief, yet ever-exciting, career as a teacher is that there is so much that we aren’t prepared for as we sign our names on our much anticipated contracts.  My first year, I was laid off, or ‘pink slipped,’ and had to draw a straw in our elementary hall-way with the three other ladies that were all hired the same day as I was that year.  I drew the short straw, literally.  My administration reassured me that they would find a spot for me in the fall.  It wasn’t my first grade classroom that I had previously had but rather a newly created position at the middle school, funded by Stimulus dollars, in effort to support students needing literacy intervention.  Though we had intervention classrooms, Literacy Workshop was special because we infused the reading intervention into the social studies and science classrooms and monitored their progress throughout.  Well, because that position was only temporary, I found myself doing yet another unique role the following year, co-teaching.  Now, I’m curious as to what my role will look like for year four (2011-2012)…

I often wonder if this evolving path has been a blessing or not.  Then, as I reflect, I realize that the biggest secret that I’ve come to discover is that being exposed to so many teachers, administrators, and opportunities only reaffirms what seems to often be forgotten: It’s not about the program, it’s about the teacher.

Those words were actually told to me as inspiration to work in these new positions.  Having my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, I enjoyed researching and trying out new programs and strategies.  Of course I believe in strong programs, but as I’ve stepped into more and more classrooms, I’ve realized how the teacher delivers the program and engages his or her students is the more powerful tool.  So, I began to network with as many teachers as possible – trying to find out their inspiring ideas.

By attending numerous quality professional development conferences and workshops, I became an intellectual sponge filtering and filing all that I could absorb.  My classroom became my work shop for taking those ideas and turning them into practice.  My students didn’t become sponges soaking up what I was delivering but rather my team for figuring out what was working and how to enhance what wasn’t working.  They were now the pioneers of their success, taking ownership of their learning.  Our team looked similar to Gregory House’s medical team, without the satire, bouncing intelligent ideas off of each other – turning to their guide to facilitate their learning.  Students were inspiring each other each day and growing exponentially.  Our lessons came alive, collaboration was second nature, and active engagement was automatic, not encouraged.

Having a compulsive personality, I couldn’t get enough… I needed to extend my network without waiting for the next workshop or conference.  Thus, I turned to the Internet.  I was amazed with how many teachers were willing to share not only their ideas but also their resources.  After compiling a hub of my personal favorites that worked for my classroom, I decided to start my own resource sharing blog, Kleinspiration.  I wanted to share the inspiration that I had gained from web 2.0 sites, Apple applications, brilliant teacher’s blogs, and best-practice ideas; hence, Kleinspiration was born.  This blog is still in its infancy as it was started two weeks ago, but I work daily to update it with the best of what others are sharing and creators are designing along with how it can be applied directly to practice within your classroom.  With being a follower of Kleinspiration, you will find inspired ideas to bring to your class right away that are free, user-friendly, teacher tested, and student approved.  I look forward to collaborating with you soon.

Thank you Kelly for allowing me to be a guest blogger on your site, one of the greatest resources I’ve come across, iLearn Technology.  Thank you for helping me to remember one of the greatest secrets in education, a network and support system of passionate teachers.  You’ve continue to inspire me each day!

Personal Invitation to Join My Network, Kleinspiration:

Follow Kleinspiration: click here and select ‘follow’ on the right hand side!

Tweet with Erin Klein: click here to follow on Twitter

‘Like’ it on Facebook:  click here to be a fan of Kleinspiration

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  1. Erin,
    This is a great How To become a better teacher regardless of your status within the hiring hierarchy.

    I’m not so sure that it was your non-tenured status that was the crucial factor in your experience. Rather, I think it might your desire to be a better teacher and your hunger for improved learning. Those qualities are available to all teachers.

  2. Thanks for the great post on the ups and downs and primarily optimism of a new teacher. The passion and intelligence Ms. Klein brings to the classroom is sure to pay off for her students and for her teaching career. I look forward to following Kleinspiration.

  3. I have to agree with Dan, the desire to be a better teacher and improve learning makes all the difference in the world for every educator!

  4. Dan,

    You’re right, those qualities are certainly available to all teachers. 🙂 I like how you described it as a hunger… that is exactly what I had in mind. Thank you very much for your feedback.

  5. Matt,

    I truly appreciate your positive feedback. I noticed you added as a follower to Kleinspiration – thanks! I look forward to sharing ideas with you.


    Well stated — desire and passion are powerful.

    Thank you both so much for your comments.

  6. It’s really disheartening to hear stories like this where teachers are let go because of poor funds, lack of room, etc. Though, it’s inspiring that you held your head high enough to gain something positive about it. My Aunt is a teacher, and has taught all grades. Recently they cut funding (as they have everywhere) and she had to teach not only a split grade class, but also had to figure out how to teach the advanced and disabled learners at the same time. It’s amazing what you can get accomplished by being inspired- as she’s succeeded and then some. What would you say your biggest obstacle was in getting your confidence back and incorporate it in your teaching?

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