Summer is drawing to a close, and so have my searches. There were two things I spent my summer searching for, and I came to find they were there all the while… if I just looked a little closer.
My first search was for sea glass, which Mr. Brooks and I have collected together for 23 years. He has eagle eyes for sea glass and finds it everywhere we go. Me? I look and look and look (and look) and usually cannot find it. My mind wanders off to my to-do list, or I start looking at the ocean or watching birds. I get very frustrated because he makes it look so easy.
This year I joined an online group of over 8,000 sea glass enthusiasts. Every day I see their amazing images of treasures they find on beaches all over the world. From marbles to pottery to beautifully colored glass – each of the members share photos of their finds. One of my seaglass friends is Cherylann. She lives in Puerto Rico and has been collecting sea glass on those beaches for 2 years. Here is her photo showing the work she has done sorting her collection by color:
Her beautiful photos and story inspired me to put new effort towards my own search for sea glass. Recently, Mr. Brooks and I went to Sagamore Beach to look. At low tide, our beach is SUPER rocky, and I usually have a terrible time being able to find anything but rocks. Take a look:
See???? Every time I leave the beach without sea glass, I usually feel sorry for myself. I think everyone else must be better at sea glassing than I am. I believe I must be one of those people who can’t do it. It’s pretty pathetic, really. For some reason, this day I had a positive mindset. I decided I would focus only on hunting for glass, and would think about nothing else. Each time my attention wandered, I would refocus. I was in the Zone! Before I knew it, I had collected a whole handful of sea glass!
I truly believe it had been there all the time…. It seems my lack of finding was directly related to my willingness to actually look for it. Lesson learned? Anything worth finding is worth the effort to look for. .
Why am I posting about sea glass hunting on my classroom website? As you may have guessed, it has to do with the second thing I have been searching for this summer….
I have been a third grade teacher for the past 9 years, and tomorrow I’ll start my first year as a fourth grade teacher. Though on the surface, this transition may seem like a small one, to me it feels like a very big one. I loved third grade, and really got the hang of it over these past years. All summer, folks have been asking me if I am excited about going to 4th grade… Am I ready? Do I need anything? Their support and encouragement has meant the world to me. However, I have been looking and looking and looking (and looking) for my “identity” as a fourth grade teacher. When someone asks me what I teach, I want my automatic answer to be “I am a fourth grade teacher!”.
I contribute to an online Pinterest group with over 35,000 followers, all surrounding topics important to fourth grade teachers. Every day I see amazing pins from teachers in classrooms all over the world. From lessons to strategies to beautifully organized classrooms – each of the members share photos of their craft.
The more time I spent on these websites, the more I learned about all fourth grade had to offer. I became engaged by new curricular topics and the opportunities of working with older students. I stopped seeing my shortcomings and started to recognize the signs showing I am already a fourth grade teacher. Check out what I mean:
My family vacation took us to Washington DC this summer, which I absolutely loved. I think my travels JUST MIGHT come in handy while working with fourth graders…
Similarly, I’ve been decorating around the house, and look at what I’ve got to share….
A chronicle of our family’s US travels is in our new kitchen:
My grandmother made this quilt documenting her trip cross-country with my grandfather, dad and aunt. Each button marks a spot and the embroidery follows the route they took.
The more I really looked around me, the more I found all signs pointing towards fourth grade. It seems to me, that to see myself as a fourth grade teacher, all I had to do was look more closely.
So, I’m leaving third grade behind, and am setting off on a new adventure alongside my students who have never been in fourth grade before themselves. I can’t wait to see them tomorrow <~~ that never changes! Be sure to stop by and say hello!!
Still Dreaming Big,