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Twenty-one years sure fly by when you are having fun! I started my journey in Nixa as a student teacher in the fall of 1990. What a blessing to work with such an amazing cooperating teacher, Martha Tegeler. I learned so much from her. I then subbed for another year and a half due to a hiring freeze. That time was such a great learning experience for me as I tried my wings and started developing my teaching style. I hit the ground running in 1992 with my first class of fourth graders! I probably didn’t know what I was doing, but we sure had a good time and I quickly learned the importance of integrating curriculum and differentiating learning. I worked at Espy first, with incredible colleagues and mentors. Back then you knew every kid in Nixa because we only had 4 classes of fourth grade for the whole district. Over the years I taught at Espy, Inman, Mathews, and Century. I taught fourth, third, 1st/2nd multiage, was a literacy facilitator and a Technology Integration Specialist. Whew! When we built a new school… I went! I moved more times than I can count, either classrooms or buildings. The growth in Nixa has been incredible and I am so glad I have been here through it all.
I spent the last weekend going through old pictures of my students and colleagues. I am so blessed to have made so many friends and to have the opportunity to teach and learn with the most awesome students and parents in the world. One of the things I am most proud of as I reflected on all the images was that my clasroom has always been a very active learning environment. From building a playhouse, making the rain forest and ocean in a bubble, dancing, cooking, singing, having a campout, living like a pioneer, and millions of things in between… we lived the learning! I know we are supposed to teach content and help students become academically successful, but I have to be honest.. my mission has always been to make learning fun and help students create memories that will last a lifetime. The grades and test scores are nice, but helping students find their passion, build their confidence, fuel the fire to learn more, and developing positive relationships are much more important to me. Call me a rebel. LOL
I am ready to start my new adventure as an education consultant full time, but so sad to see my time at Nixa come to a close. But just like there was a day when I had to sell all the Eagles Eye sweaters in a garage sale and pack up the castle… it is time for me to move on to something new. I will never forget and will still laugh about the times I blew all the fuses in the hallway making applesauce or pancakes. Or the zillions of Talent Shows and Sing a Longs that I made everyone dance, sing, and do stupid skits cause I knew the kids would love it. How about when we put 30 refrigerator boxes in my classroom to recreate Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? That was brilliant, not!
Teaching has been an Elliott family project. Bless their hearts.. Tim, Austin, and Ashlyn have spent hours and hours helping me make my classroom the home I hope every kid would want. I love you all for never complaining and always joining right in the craziness. Century 1st and 2nd grade teachers, remember when Tim helped us make the log cabin hallway and even brought us homeade chili to eat at midnight? Good times!
Thank you to all of you for making the last 21 years incredible for me and my family. It has been a privilege to work with you. I love you all and can’t wait to see what will happen next in Nixa. Enjoy the summer. You sure deserve it!