About Lori H Rice

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade since 1996. She has a passion for creativity, learning, questioning and the whole child. Her classroom is a place of acceptance and celebrating differences.

This semester flew by and it was an amazing gift to see my students through fresh eyes.  Having a student intern gave me the chance to reflect and think about my own teaching, as well as help my students in ways only possible when you have more than one adult working together in a classroom.  Having a student intern allowed me to do more and be more for my students.

Next year, this class of college graduates will move into their own classrooms.  Lauren, my student intern, along with thousands of others, will be able to set up learning communities that take small pieces of each classroom they have been involved in and they will mold those ideas to match their own personal philosophy and style.  In August they will have fresh, new faces greet them and they will be YOUR kids. While this responsibility is enormous, you are ready.

In the first few days and weeks you will be a type of tired you did not know existed before having your own classroom.  You will have great days, you will have successes, you will see learning.  You will also have lessons fail, you will have disappointments, you will wonder why you are in this profession.  You may have parents love you, you may find colleagues you click with, you may have a million questions you find small answers to every day.  You may have parents upset with you, you may disagree with colleagues, you may question what this is about.  At each quarter and at the end of the year a smaller version of this beginning of the year tired will return.  It is in the moments you doubt and in the moments you shine I wish for you to:

-remember the joy you had on your first day

-laugh with your students each day

-allow yourself time to sit and reflect

-allow yourself time to sit and have a good cry, then move on

-tell each student what you value in them

-show respect to all students

-remember everyone brings something to the classroom

-remember those who act out, are simply asking for love

-remember you were young once too

-remember the importance of play

-find the learning in failure

-encourage students tell each other what they value

-share a success with a colleague (no matter how big or small)

-celebrate the little and big accomplishments

-give yourself grace

-have some chocolate (or whatever little indulgence you love)

-write down the funny things, read them, reread them

-send thank you notes for gifts (no matter the size)

-remember why you started

This amazing, demanding impossibly possible job is the best there is.  You will touch the future every day. My wish for you is to hold onto the hope, the dreams, the passion, the love and the joy of the journey.  Celebrate and have fun down along this path.  And remember to laugh!

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