To Next Year and Beyond

So I have had this thing with my teaching certification…it expires next June. There are 2 different levels of teacher certificates around here:  Provisional and Professional.  You get your Provisional right out of college.  The state of Michigan, in order to collaborate with the colleges to squeeze as much money out of its teachers keep up with No Child Left Behind standards for teachers, require that a teacher needs to either take at least 9 credits to renew her Provisional certificate within 5 years, or take 18 credits (or a Master’s Degree) to get her Professional certificate. 

For the last several years I’ve looked and looked and tried to see how on earth I could possibly budget to take some classes to renew my certificate in June of ’09, but it just wasn’t happening.  I didn’t want anymore debt…I had a peace that it wasn’t God’s plan for my life.  I’ve looked for different ways to try to get grants to pay for it-or at least help-but with no such luck. 

Last year when I started the Literacy Project with some great professionals in my field, I thought for sure that it was going to open up a door with Grand Valley State University to receive some sort of credit to help me out with my certification…but nada.  So here I learned all this wonderful stuff, applied it, saw myself grow as a teacher, and I’ve known all spring that I wouldn’t be able to teach after this school year.  Part of me, honestly, was kind of burnt out and I wasn’t too sad about stepping out of the classroom. 

Something happened at the end of the school year (and I was encouraged by a WONDERFUL woman named Susan…one of my teaching mentors and friends) to not let go of my dream to keep teaching.  Susan really did play a great role in this, because the woman had nothing to gain or lose by me stepping out, nor staying in…but she’s seen me in my classroom, with my kids, teaching my kids…and she really, truly believes in me as a teacher!  I seriously can’t deny the power that happens when someone who knows what they’re talking about, tells you that you have a true gift for something…it does something in your heart.  (Don’t ever forget that when you’re speaking into someone’s life!  Especially if you know what you’re talking about…what you say really means something:) 

Anywho, my heart was rejuvenated, and I began to really seek God again for further direction.  I started jumping down a few different thought paths that after a day or two, definitely didn’t seem like the paths that were meant for me.  And then one day, less than 2 weeks ago, (and literally 1 day after asking a group of friends to pray for my decision-making in this area of my life-thanks friends!) I landed on this website, for the National Board Certification for teachers

I think I’d heard of national teacher certification before, but I’d never known anything about it (although I figured that it would probably be a big deal).  I’ve never known anyone that had it, and after these past couple weeks, have only found 1 person who’s ever even heard of it!  I spent some time on the website, asked some questions to other educators and people at the state department…oh yeah, and I prayed about it:)  In three days I’d had my decision (I knew I had to move quickly because of deadlines) and I applied to go through the process to become nationally certified as a teacher! 

The process doesn’t cost nearly what it would cost for me to take the credits I was needing, and the state of Michigan gives out grants that will cover half of it (not many people actually apply, so there’s a good chance I’ll receive the grant).  It will give me my Professional certificate in Michigan for 10 years!

I’m sure that I’ll have lots of things to say about the process, but for now, you can know that it’s going to take a lot of planning, organization, mad teacher skills ;-P, reflection, time, patience, and God’s creativity to pull off.  The odds are actually against me…only 40% of the teachers who apply for this ever get it, and typically teachers have 3 yearly teaching cycles to complete each part well enough to pass (if you don’t do well on one of the 5 parts, you could always pay to retake that part the next year)…I only have one year of teaching left, so this next year is my only chance!  I have until March 31st to complete my entire portfolio (many teachers have been working on this since January) and I also have to take a 6 hour long assessment on things that aren’t covered in the intensive portfolio pieces.

It seems like I’m a touch on the crazy side right now…but I have to admit that I’m running with some serious adrenaline to walk through this intensive process, and to do it well.  Only having one chance at this is very risky, but I honestly feel that God led me to this place.  I don’t believe in gambling, but I do believe in taking risks.  Risk-taking isn’t necessarily my forte, but I do value it and know that sometimes it’s just what God is calling you to do.

Needless to say, I’m excited about this opportunity to step into something a bit bigger than I’ve ever expected.  But, remember that Literacy Project that I’ve been working through?…yea, everything I need to know for this certification process I learned through the project.  Can’t help it but think that God was setting me up. 😉  All this, not to even mention the fact that I’m moving up with my students to teach 5th grade this next year, which will end up being amazing because I get to jump right into the year (and the cert process) already knowing my kids!

Grow. It’s What We Do.

That’s the title of my class’ new blog!!!

So, being the teacher of communication through literacy that I am, I decided that this would be the year I would start a blog for my class.  Of course I’m really excited to see if I actually keep up with it, but I think that about 2/3 of my class has the Internet at home, so I could really utilize it as a great communication tool between parents and me.  My hope is that I will be able to even post an article about once a week (or so) from a student about what we’re learning in class.  (Wouldn’t that be awesome?) 

You’re welcome to check it out here, but please don’t make any reference to this blog…I’d rather the kids not read this one:)

My Friend Wheel

It’s a common joke amongst some of my friends here in Michigan that I can always find a connection between me and someone else you know.  Hey, wanna play a game of Six Degrees of Kim Burton?  Anyway, it really is just a joke…but if I meet you, I really will try to find someone that we both know separately…and I probably will eventually find someone;)

I just saw this application on Facebook, called Friend Wheel, and was fascinated by it…check out mine!

Friend wheel


Here’s to my super cool friends, some of which are new friends of mine…who wore capes while waiting in line to get into The Dark Knight this afternoon at the Imax.  I do have very cool friends;)
In the front we have Batman Hannah, Leah Samantha, Emily, Sarah, Jen (back around) me, Phil, Jackson, Jonathan. 

One of the Coolest Seniors I know

My vacation149

This is Rachel.  She was in the 5th grade classroom that I student taught in, in Minneapolis.  And now she’ll be graduating from high school next year.  She’s absolutely one of the coolest teenagers that I know.  That isn’t an exaggeration of the truth and although most of the world will never know her, the world is SO MUCH BETTER because she lives in it.  Rachel’s a living, breathing example of maturing young woman who knows Jesus, loves people, and lives in real community with her neighborhood.  I’ve seriously never met anyone like her!  It was an awesome privilege it was to hang out with her one day when I was there, and I could probably write several posts about her. 

I decided that she’s one of my young heroes.  I want to be like her when I grow up. 🙂

I-94 Continued

Sadly, it’s been a month since I went on my trip to visit some great friends in Minnesota…here are a few highlights. 🙂
My vacation110
This is Toby Evans.  (Doesn’t he sound like a country singer?)  He belongs to one of my best friends, Jessica, that I met in college.  Jessica and I lived on the same floor my 3rd year at North Central and we connected a few months into the year…and we’ve been great friends ever since.

My vacation136

 This is Ben and Jen.  Jen is with child, and we’ve been friends since we were 7.  You can read more about her here.

My vacation196

Here we have Ginger and Callie.  Ginger lived on my floor my freshman year of college, she’ s the one

that first called me Kimmy so much that it stuck ALL THE WAY through college…and then some:)  She’s also the one that brought me out of my shell during my college years.

These are some shots of one of my favorite spots in the whole world…the campus where I spent five wonderful years of my life.
My vacation121

My vacation125
This is the hall where I lived for 3 1/2 years.

My vacation124
This was my window my freshman year. 🙂  okay…so I went a little crazy reminiscing…but, I could’ve gone to every place I lived there and taken pictures of my windows…I did control myself a little.

My vacation128 A cross street that I’ll never forget…Elliot Ave was my address.

On my way back from Minnesota, I stopped to see an old friend and his family as well.  John and I met in 9th grade, went to the same high school, went to the same church, and then to the same college.  This is him and his wife, Liana, and their two kids, Mikaeyla and Isaac.  It was so great to see them!

My vacation056

My trip was fantastic, and as I said, reminiscent.  I honestly felt like I could stay for another month…or five years…lol…but I truly am grateful to be back home where I’m supposed to be.

Final Chicago Trip

For the last 3 1/2 years, I’ve visited traveled the five hours to Chicago several times a year to visit my brother, Dave, and his family (that grew by one while they were there!)  It was so great to be with them so often, since I haven’t lived by family since I graduated from high school.  I loved having them so close!

A couple of weeks ago, Dave, Stephanie, Robert, Ross, Ryder and Lady (the dog) trucked back to the Philadelphia area, where my brother took another job.  I’m really happy for them, and for the rest of our families that will get to see them more often, so I’m so sad that I won’t see them as often (I mean, have you seen gas and airline prices?) 

But, on my way home, I did get to stop and see them one last time in Chi-town.  We went into the city for a couple days, over the 4th of July.  It’s always fun getting to know other people, and on this particular trip we went with some of their best friends from Chicago.  Here are some fun pix from that…
My vacation004

We rode on those 6-people bike things…HULARIOUS!

My vacation007

Of course Ryder was adorable!!

My vacation021

This is Kayla…and her new friend:)

My vacation054

I’m still not completely sure what Ross was doing here…but he decided his feet hurt and he sat in Ryder’s stroller for some fireworks.

My vacation027

Me on the boat on the 4th of July…anticipating an exciting fireworks show!

More pictures of Ryder…:)My vacation071 
My vacation058 

My vacation067My vacation184