Have you ever loved your job? Like loved it so much that you gave it everything you have? Yea, me too!
Fun, engaged, impactful.
Those are the three words that first come to mind when I think of teaching. Read on to learn more about my teaching story and see why those three words mean so much to me.
I never intended to be a teacher. Honestly, I never really considered it. Until that preschool gig in college… Twelve hours a week at minimum wage as a preschool aide. That sealed the deal!
I switched my major to an Eled/Sped degree and never looked back.
My first year teaching was in my hometown. I loved it! My students were amazing! Teaching 3rd and 4th grades together was a new experience for me. I was overwhelemd (in a good way), and pushed through getting all the curriculum covered and simply trying to keep my head above water. PHEW!
Year 2 found me in the same school, but I added 2nd grade into the mix. Three grades. One classroom. Did I mention that over half of them were ELL students to boot?
Year 3? A new school. I was a half time Reading Recovery teacher and a half time 1st-3rd grade Title I reading & math teacher. If you’ve been Reading Recovery trained, you know how much work that first year can be!
Year 4 I was at the same school, BUT I made the move to a Kindergarten classroom. It was by far my favorite year of teaching! Again, I struggled to simply figure out what I was doing, but I made it work.
Year 5 – another new school. (Notice a trend yet?) This time I was teaching 5th grade special education as an inclusion teacher that floated between three gen ed classrooms. We did very little pull out. I saw a ton of different teaching and classroom management strategies I hadn’t been exposed to yet, and I feel those three veteran teachers helped shape me even more.
Year 6 = yet another new school. I found myself teaching 6th grade in an elementary setting. Talk about a change from the last classroom I had to myself! But yet somehow 6th graders and Kindergarteners are similar in so many ways.
Year 7 we departmentalized across 4th, 5th, and 6th grade at my school. I taught all the reading and most of the writing, while the other two teachers took over the math, science, and social studies. I thought I had it made! I actually got to teach the same 6th grade reading curriculum two years in a row. WOOHOO! It’s so nice to be able to do more activities and pull amazing resources when you know what’s going on with the basics. 🙂
Year 8 – yet another change, this time to administration! I was the K-6 principal at two elementary buildings and the K-12 direct Special Education Director. WHEW!
What a ride my teaching career has been so far! Now I’m a work at home mama who does a bit of tot schooling with my two young kiddos. But wait – there’s yet ANOTHER adventure! In spring 2024, I am back at our local school working as the K-5 enrichment teacher one day a week. And I am LOVING it!
As you probably noticed, I changed schools and grade levels A LOT. Every year was something new and exciting. Yet this meant I was trying to start over from scratch each time. Thankfully I was given curriculum in each district, but it wasn’t always the greatest. I often had to scramble to find engaging content that would keep my students motivated to learn.
But I learned some VERY important lessons!
Form relationships. Make learning fun. Keep it engaging. Make an impact.
This applies to relationships and learning in general.
Hence my blog tagline – fun, engaging, impactful learning and relationships.
This should apply to be the relationships you build with your students and their learning.
There’s nothing greater than seeing students engaged when they are learning in your classroom. They are having fun. You know you are making an impact as a teacher. Then again, one thing might be better…having former students approach you and thank you for all the fun they had in your classroom. That is when you’ve reached the teacher jackpot!
Thanks for stopping by! You’ve reached one of my little corners of the internet world. On this blog you’ll find great freebies, plenty of teaching ideas, and some resources to help your students be engaged in their learning in a fun way.
You can also find me at HoJo’s Life Adventures.
Here’s how I got my nickname
My grandma immigrated from France to the United States when she was 20. She still speaks a mile a minute! When my parents told her my name was Heather Jo, she said it back so fast that it sounded like HoJo. That’s all it took – it stuck!!
I truly appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog! Please make sure to read my disclosure statement while I’m here. Basically it says I do use affiliates. So if you’re interested in supporting me, simply clicks on the various links/ads you see on this blog. For example, if you want to shop on Amazon – click here. Or if you want to purchase something from my store – click here.
If you want to learn more about my teaching credentials, you can see my South Dakota teaching license here –