Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Welcome To My Classroom

       There are four teachers in this picture. I'm the one in the purple sweatshirt.  Left to right: Sandy, who has been my best friend since kindergarten...this fall, it it will be sixty-one years since we met in Mrs. Bybee's room. What Sandy does best with me is laugh. Me, beaming because I am in the presence of three women for whom I have total respect and admiration. Dr. Joan Roberts, my high school creative writing teacher, who taught me the power of positive feedback and always trying to do your best. Finally, Mrs. Marilyn Smith, my 6th grade teacher and current monthly breakfast companion; also a fellow left-hander. She inspired me to follow her into a lifetime of teaching.
        This blog is dedicated to these three magnificent women of education. Being a teacher surrounded by other supportive teachers is like a gift I get to open every day. Loving my career the way I do, I cannot wait to get to school every day. It's like Christmas, 180 days a year.
         I have taught in special education classrooms my entire career. I could write a dozen books about my experiences, but have decided on an alternate path for sharing what I have learned....this blog. So, I shall write about young men and women who have made my teaching career into a life-long "school of life".  My students over the years since I began in 1974 have been  a mix of intellectually challenged, emotionally disturbed, juvenile delinquents, drug addicts, homeless, mentally ill, gang-bangers, abused, neglected, undocumented immigrants, and/or pregnant.
        I'm sure I have missed a few labels, but that is not what is significant about these teenagers. The weight of their impact on my life and thus on the lives of the students who followed them into my classroom is what carries the most meaning. I have gained enormous insight and self-knowledge from these kids. That insight and self-knowledge has enabled me to relate to and  to help countless other young people who followed their footsteps through Mrs. Holmgren's room.
       This is short, but it is only meant to be an introduction. PLEASE take another couple of minutes and read at least ONE of my other posts! These posts will relate the unusual and entertaining tales of students whose personalities and special qualities have etched them into my memory forever, along with lessons learned. They are those unique teenagers who have made my classroom a place where there is "never a dull moment".