Delaware Writing Project

No Teacher is an Island

By Jennifer McCullough

I can pinpoint to the day, the moment even, that changed my teaching career forever.  You could say that a light bulb was turned on inside my head.  At the time, I had been teaching for five years and had just finished saying goodbye to the most frustrating and challenging class of my career.  I knew that I needed to take a long hard look at my career over the summer.  I also knew that I needed to reflect and make some changes the following school year.  

Just by chance I came across a fellow teacher’s blog called Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits.  The writer is currently a first grade teacher in Texas.  I started reading through her blog and was so amazed at what a wonderfully, creative teacher she was.  There were fresh ideas, pictures, helpful blog posts, and free activities all there for the taking.  I spent the next two months researching many teacher’s blogs, but always came back to Mrs. Tunstall’s blog.  

I teach at a very small school, where we only have one of each grade.  I have always felt like I was on my own, but for the first time I knew that there were other teachers out there with the same questions and concerns, fears and challenges and triumphs.  For example, I have always struggled with creating hands on centers in Math and I discovered Mrs. Tunstall had created a resource called Big Bundle of Math Centers.  It is packed full of hands on math activities that covers a wide range of first grade standards.  It was so exciting getting to use these activities in my classroom.  I was able to enrich our current math program to ensure student success.

As a rule, we know that teachers are very good at sharing and borrowing ideas.  It is because of finding a community of teachers online that I have completely fallen in love with teaching all over again.  I work hard everyday to make sure that the light bulb stays lit and shines brightly for all to see.

I went back to school that fall revitalized and energized.  I had a fresh new outlook on teaching and couldn’t wait to see the changes in my classroom.  That was three years ago last month.  I will be forever grateful to the teachers that are brave enough to put themselves out there through blogs and online resources.  It is in my opinion that teaching is a team effort.  We need to collaborate and share ideas on a daily basis.  I only hope that one day my blogs can be an inspiration to a new crop of teachers in the same way that I was inspired by my fellow teachers when I needed it the most.

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About the Author

Jennifer McCullough is a first grade teacher at St. Peter Cathedral School in Wilmington, Delaware.  She is dual certified in Elementary Education K-6 and Special Education K-12.  She graduated from Wilmington University in 2007 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education K-6.  This fall she plans on continuing her education by returning to Wilmington University to pursue her Master’s Degree in Reading.

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