We ask our students and ourselves to Work Hard, Be Courageous and Celebrate Growth every day. It is our classroom pledge. It is a powerful statement, and one I could easily connect to the kind of classroom community environment I feel is necessary for kids to be successful learners. The funny thing was the way I began to apply it to myself, and this only came through the many texts and reflections with my teaching partner. Working Hard was never a problem in my teaching life, but by choosing to pursue those things that “filled my cup” so to speak, from reading PD books to seeking out sources and sites on the internet, to verbally processing my new understandings to further my own growth, I began to make connections to the positive energy that sustains a teacher throughout the year. Being Courageous became the statement for being open and trying many new “recipes” to find the one that best fit the students in my class. Within my school district and building it also meant having the courage to step up as a leader in my own way to teach and learn from others. These were my building blocks, my epiphanies, only to recognize that the reflective process must also acknowledge and CELEBRATE the growth that is being made. It is that celebration of a well-browned turkey that it isn’t too dry! That celebration of mastering the whole technique of the perfect omelet or creating gravy without lumps of any kind! With food you have the end result to enjoy, so where was my “food” so to speak. To celebrate growth you need to know where you were and see how far you have come. In the day to day process of teaching it is easy to get caught up in lunch counts, paper work, refocus slips and requests to intervene when someone is bugging someone else. I knew though that a celebration of true growth comes from all the behind the scenes activities. So I am blogging to acknowledge those things, those moments of growth I wish to celebrate. I am blogging to recognize where I have been and make connections between all that I am learning from my students, my teaching partner, my resources, my colleagues. I am blogging to celebrate my growth so that I can keep cooking!