Cornucopia by Lezley Davidson on DeviantArt available under a Creative Commons Attribution license 3.0 at http://lezleydavidson.deviantart.com/art/Cornucopia-320269817
Feeling ThankfulI saw a post on Two Writing Teachers about expressing gratitude to teachers and other education professionals who have been your mentors. I thought to myself, "What a wonderful idea!" I have a fairly long list - in my 20th year of teaching I have had the opportunity to have some wonderful mentors!
Cindy Knott-Guillaume - My "Mentor Teacher" twenty (gasp!) years ago. The finest teacher ever. Wow! Was I ever lucky to get her! She taught me so much about how to manage a classroom, and about how to be a teacher - foundational skills.
Lorinda Brown - One of the very best principals I ever worked for. My lesson plans were on her desk by Friday - or I didn't go home! It didn't matter that this school was in the projects and 100% of the students were on free and reduced lunch. "Her kids" deserved a good education. She was awesome! Moving from the private school system to a public school setting was different, and she supported my steps along the way.
Julie Little Goodman - I have learned so much about reading, and the development of the reading process. She gave me books to read, and took time to discuss "case studies." I still go to her when I have kiddos who get "stuck."
Kaaren Salminen - In our conversations she reminds me about where kids begin - and it helps me not to take anything for granted. This is especially important when you have 5th Graders who are so very far behind. She gives me perspective - truly a gift.
Pranee Pogeline - I wanted to be a teacher of writing, but I didn't really know how. I read all the books; I tried the practices in my classroom - but I needed a coach. Pranee coached me. She wasn't even a teacher in my own district - she did it because she is the "pro" in professional.
Kelly Boland Hohne - She taught my 5th Grade Reading Workshop Group at Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project. I learned more in 1 week about how to teach Reading than I think I have probably learned in my whole career! What an amazing experience!
Angie Snapp, Kelly Slagle, and Julie Gill - My three student teachers. There is nothing like having to be a mentor teacher yourself that forces you to reflect on your practice, to think about every step and instructional move you make. What a great opportunity!
Keith Collins - One of the finest, most dedicated principals I have ever had the pleasure to work for. He always made time to listen, and I felt valued and supported as a teacher. He mentored me through the jump from special ed to general ed. Under his leadership, my instructional skills really began to grow, because he found my area of interest and provided opportunities for growth and development.
Jan Cornelsen - I had absolutely no idea how to teach Math - and Jan took me under her wing. She spent her own time coaching me - reviewing my teaching videos with me; finding the positives and coaching me through the rough spots. She is an amazing lady!
Carmen Avila - A good chunk of the great ELL strategies I learned were from Carmen in my TESOL Program. I still use them - on a daily basis.
Ramona Slagle - Another great inspiration and source of strategies and support for my English Language Learners. I learned some of my best Vocabulary Strategies from Ramona.
Tracie Coskie, Michele Hornoff, and the Teachers at the Northwest Teachers Writing Collective - What an awesome group of professionals to learn alongside of! We have done action research projects, book studies, case studies - and I have never failed to learn something new every time we met.
I know there are many more I haven't listed - these are just the ones off of the top of my head. Some of my greatest teachers though, have been my students. That is another list . . .
I am thankful for all of them.