Krystal L. SmithThank you for visiting and welcome to RenewEDTeacherblog! I am the wife of a wonderfully, loving, and supportive husband who I have known for almost half my life; the mother of an adventurous and tantalizing toddler who makes us smile and laugh everyday; and mentor, coach, decorator, comedian, counselor…[Fill in the Blank] best known as a teacher to every child that enters my classroom each year. I have taught 5th grade for nine years, and I absolutely love it! I have taught English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. I currently do not teach ELA as 5th grade is now departmentalized. I have tutored in several after school programs, been a Site Coordinator for Two after school programs, partnered with two colleagues to lead a PD session of Implementing Centers in K-6 classrooms, led a PD session on Cooperative Learning, and attended multiple Local and National Conferences, taken personal PD courses online and on college campuses, and been an active voluntary member in many of my schools’s and district’s committees and programs. I enjoy learning, sharing, and being active in my school community.
I love teaching. During the year of my internship to teaching, I was told by many staff members that I had found my niche, and that I had that magic teaching ability. But fast forward to my 4th year of teaching. Something in me changed. I felt I lost my mojo. Have you ever felt that you lost your magic ability to positively effect change in your classroom or school? For me, there was no book, movie, colleague, administrator, friend, family member, PD session, or conference that I believed could help bring it back. As far as I was concerned, I was done. I no longer felt like the empowered, motivating, “cool-nerd” teacher, I knew I was. This was the worst year of my teaching career. I had changed schools, had new administrators, and had all of the heavy hitters in one room. It was a rough year to say the least. The year I almost quit teaching to say the most. Have you ever experienced this? When I did, it was a rude awakening for me. I knew that teaching was my calling, and I felt like a failure. I didn’t know what I would do if I was not in the classroom.
It took about a year and half for me to recover and regain my confidence, and another four years to get back to me.
I am a self proclaimed “cool-nerd.” That means I am cool and get along well with just about anyone, but I am a nerd at heart and take learning about everything very seriously. (It’s a gift and a curse.) Additionally, I enjoy most things that challenge me to become a better person. I am always willing to take an extra step to do a little bit more. Somewhere between 2010 and 2014, that person was gone. I was that teacher that was going through the motions. I was that teacher working for the paycheck. ( I was childless and unmarried during this period of time, so I can’t use my family to justify anything). While all of my passion and love for the profession and children was not gone, it was dwindling. I needed to Renew myself.
My first major attempt (there were many small attempts) at Renewing myself, was in 2014, when I decided to improve my teaching. I determined that applying for my National Board Teaching Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist would be the best way to do this. I am currently still in the process of earning it. I will not know if I am certified until Winter 2017. If you’re interested, please check back later for posts about my National Board Journey. National Board Teaching Page
What I can definitely attest to is that working to earn my National Boards has majorly impacted my teaching. It is a process that took me outside of my comfort zone where I had to reflect and improve on things I thought I was already doing well. You know that feeling when you think you look like the prom queen, and you walk out of the bathroom with toilet paper on the bottom of your shoe or stuck to the side of your leg? Yea, National Board provided some humility for me. As the saying goes, there is always room for improvement. What we’re not told is what to do when you don’t know you need to improve or what to do when you don’t care if you improve or not because you are already where you want to be.
My second major attempt at Renewing myself is creating this blog.
With this blog, I hope to continue to grow personally and professionally. I also hope to inspire teachers, who have lost their mojos or feel as if they may, to stick with this field and all of its rewards. I hope to create a positive, encouraging, motivating, and stimulating community of teachers who support each other to grow into excellence as “cool-nerd” lifelong learners. I believe if we can open our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts, we can work together to overcome all of the challenges we face in this profession and our accomplishments will be infinitive.