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The lightbulb goes onSomeone has figured it out

Their face reflects joy!

Kris Kimball Rosamond Elementary, 6th Grade
Gayle Dowdle Fort Herriman Middle School Science
I teach because I love helping students enjoy learning.I had science teachers who made science seem like a horrible chore that has to be done. This is so wrong!

Science is amazing and kids are born with a love of learning why things work the way they do. These kids need to see that life experience is enjoyable. That work is not a painful thing. That doing hard things are rewarding and that there is so much to enjoy.

I had such a horrible 8th grade year when I was a teenager that I feel it is my duty to help them be able to look back on 8th grade and remember it with positive feelings.

It is one of the hardest times developmentally and I want them to have positive memories of it.

I want my class to be fun, educational, and a place where they know they have someone on their side. That is why I teach, to help my students love life and see the awe in all the amazing things around them!

As Dr. Seuss said...

Now, I may not be a LORAX trying to save all the TRUFFALA TREES, but I sure love and care about my students just as much. I want to give each kid their best shot at life.

Growing up, I had teachers who loved me for the little weirdo that I was, and I strive to also love those unique qualities in my own students.

These kids are the reason why I love teaching and the reason why teaching is both the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. This job sure comes with a lot of highs and lows, but these kids bring me joy by the dozens.

Cassandra Lee, 1st Grade, Terra Linda Elementary

There is nothing quite like getting to see the joy and triumph in a student who has finally conquered a daunting challenge or who’s creativity and curiosity is bursting. These kids have sure taught me more than I’ve taught them. Their love for life is truly infectious, and getting to be a part of that is why I love teaching.

I love teaching because I love the students I work with. I look forward to coming to work everyday.

I am so lucky, because not only do I get to teach amazing high school students, but I also get to spend 2 1/2 hours of my day with the preschool children. Those 4 and 5 year olds can always put a smile on my face.


Janae Dunn, Bingham High School FACS Educator , Mini Miner Preschool

I absolutely love watching them grow and develop, but more importantly,  I love watching the high school students grow and develop, as they plan their lessons and work with these 4 and 5 year olds every day throughout the year.

The high school students care so much about those preschoolers. I love watching the connections that they make with them. My job is definitely fulfilling!

I also love teaching my child development classes. I feel that everyone needs to understand how children grow and develop. We have a great time together throughout the semester.

I couldn't ask for a better job!


As I prepare to retire this year after 30 years of teaching, I have reflected a lot on what I 30 years about teaching. Topping the list, of course, is children. That is the reason I entered the field. I have always loved children. Life is so much more enjoyable and “real” when children are a part of it. I love learning with them and helping them to learn.

I love that in Elementary School we teach all of the subjects to children. I feel often that we “open the world” to them—the World of Reading and Writing, the World of Mathematics, the World of Science and Social Studies and History, the World of Arts and Music, etc.

I even love that we can help them solve problems such as social and study problems.


We can help them become more prepared to live in our world successfully. I had the special opportunity to teach Chinese for six years.

Janet Craven Oakcrest Elementary Chinese Immersion

I get chills when I think about what those students might do for our world.

I hope that with all the students I have taught that they have learned about many things and have loved learning. Mostly I hope that just perhaps I have taught them as much as I have learned from them over the years. They will forever be in my heart!

When my students come to my class, I may be the first smile they see each day, the first how was your evening, and the first I missed you while you were out.

My students come to class with the knowledge that they have a safe haven to learn and grow in. We laugh, we care and we cry together. We succeed and we fail together because that's what you do as a teacher.

Not only am I teaching my students, but they are also teaching me on a daily basis.

Jennica Bodenhofer 6th grade Columbia Elementary

These kids are the future and I am proud that I get to be a part of creating that.

Therefore, to answer the question, I love teaching because I am molding good, kind and smart kids into the type of citizens we hope to see in this world.

I love teaching because I am lucky enough to show my students that people care and want to see them excel in life.

Love is the tool with which I ply my trade.


Love: when I hear the word, I dive toward memories that brought me joy, strung together like so many glittering pearls: thank-yous and lightbulb moments, challenges that made way for achievements. But then I check myself because love isn't always pretty. Love is gritty.

I love the sand before it shimmers. I take each grain and work at it with hope, adding love layer by layer, trusting that it will one day be pried from the darkness to shine in the light, invaluable.

I see the shape of clay before it is sculpted and love it in its incompleteness. I love each gray rock to its inscrutable core, its iridescent future in my mind's eye, and tumble it to see it glimmer.

I gather what others may pass by, taking each abrasive grain, each wet mound of clay, each raw geode, and loving it into something more.

Love is not the gems with which I am paid, to string along my neck as tokens of my dedication, but the tool with which I ply my trade. What I love about teaching is that teaching is love, dirt and all.

Teaching is love, dirt and all. by Lindsay Blowers

Lindsay Blowers
Sunset Ridge Middle • Language Arts • 7th grade

I remember the first time I cried at school. I had a 2nd grade boy, who absolutely hated to read. You could put a single simple sentence out and watch him just melt, sinking lower and lower into the seat until my poor little snowman was a puddle on the desk.

It was the beginning of the new year and I had spent winter break devising strategies for my kid. I put a piece of paper in front of him with the longest (3 paragraphs, one page, no pictures) assignment I had ever given him.

The paper hadn’t been down on the desk for more than a couple heartbeats and he was already melting like an ice cube in the sun. I handed him a highlighter and covered up everything except the line we were using.

Together, we went through and found all of the sight words he had mastered (and added a few others he was able to sound out). When we were done, I pulled off the blinders and he stared at all of the yellows on the page.

Mandy Gomez
Special Education Teacher Grades: 4th - 6th
Columbia Elementary School
“I guess I can read this,” he commented.Then. He. DidWhen he was done, he looked at me with the most confident smile I had ever seen in my life.

I burst into tears. It had taken us months to get to this point and it was worth every second of it. Moments like this are exactly why we have the best job in the world.
Mrs. Sabrina Davitt
Columbia Elementary, 1st Grade Teacher

Mrs. Sabrina Davitt Columbia Elementary, 1st Grade Teacher

Teaching children is something I believe I was born to do.

Knowing that I am teaching the next generation gives me such joy. I feel in my element when I am in the classroom surrounded by my amazing classroom family.

Our future will be in their hands one day, but for now, their future is in my hands. What will I choose to do with that great responsibility?

This question is one that I ponder frequently. I have the opportunity to make a positive difference in a child’s life.  By doing this I can, in a way, make a positive difference in our future. 

Every day I greet each student at my door with a smile and a greeting of their choice. This is my opportunity to look each student in the eye before the day begins and check how they are doing. This is one of my favorite parts of the day. 

I believe every child matters and they should feel like they matter as well. I am so lucky to have this opportunity in my life to impact their lives, hopefully for the better.

Seeing a child light up with joy and excitement when they learn something new keeps me going through the ups and downs of teaching. 

Teaching can be very stressful, however, by just taking the time each day to stop and look for the good things that happen make it definitely worth it.

Knowing that I made a difference in a child’s life, even just the smallest difference, is very rewarding.  This difference could affect this child’s entire life for the better. Why wouldn’t I want to do that?

I know that being in an elementary classroom is where I am supposed to be. It is how I am supposed to make a difference in the world. One child at a time!

"In my world there are NO BAD KIDS, just impressionable, conflicted young people wrestling with EMOTIONS & IMPULSES, trying to communicate their FEELINGS & NEEDS the only way they know how" -Janet Lansbury 

Sharon Rinehart
Welby Elementary  • 6
th gradeI love to teach for two reasons. First of all, I love the "ah ha" moment. There is nothing more satisfying and exciting as when a student, who has been struggling, finally gets a concept. I can almost see the little lightbulb being turned on in their brains as they get it. I also love to teach because I love to learn. As a teacher I get to be continually learning. I also like to try to inspire the love of learning in my students. 
What I LOVE most about teaching is the connection you make with people. As a teacher, I am privileged to work alongside other teachers, staff, students, and parents on a daily basis.

I truly LOVE learning about my students, as little human beings, while I teach them all day.  We laugh, have fun, cheer each other on, and comfort each other. All those moments, compiled together, create a unique bond that helps kids, and their teacher, feel loved.  

I also LOVE the school community at Butterfield Canyon.  My coworkers are not just my colleagues, they are my mentors, my friends and my family. We help and encourage each other daily, and do “life” together!

Kristy Hernandez 1st Grade Teacher Butterfield Canyon Elementary

The parents of my students are not just parents. They become partners in advocating for their child’s well-being and educational success. Sometimes, they’ll sit next to me at my son’s ball game or my daughter’s dance competition and cheer them on too, even though their own child is on the opposing team.

And if you are lucky like me, a parent of one of your students, becomes a best friend because you’ve worked so closely with them all year long to ensure their child’s wellness and progress during a difficult season.    

I LOVE my job and the opportunity it allows me to form lasting relationships and connect with people!  I will admit, wholeheartedly, that some days are hard and I cry, but it’s all worth it in the end!

I have the best career in the world! I get to solve riddles and puzzles all day long!

I am given pieces of many different puzzles at the beginning of each year. Daily, I get to figure out clues in order to know where each piece should go and how many to add in order to complete them.

If I am successful, I get the results of well-adjusted, happy, and successful leaders. I am challenged every day because no two puzzles are the same.

There is absolutely no greater joy in the world than solving a tough problem and I get to have that feeling every day.

Natalie Newbold
Terra Linda Elementary
3rd Grade

I get to see the light in my students’ eyes. I get to be taught alongside my students.

I get to see future brain surgeons, lawyers, politicians and many other careers that have yet to be invented, sitting in those seats.

I have the privilege of leaving each night knowing that I have played a role in their future successes.

That is why I am passionate and truly love to teach.

More than 50 years ago, a little girl lined up her ragtag group of dolls and began, “Now class, today we will…”


Her parents understood her seemingly innate desire to teach and provided her with a small table and two blue metal folding chairs, in the same scale. Her older brother had made her a large bulletin board of cork and trimmed the edges with oak wood. It was mounted on the wall of their basement in her special spot that had become her classroom.

On the bulletin board were assignments and pictures made by her “class,” and only the best papers got shiny gold stickers (the kind you had to lick). Sometimes the neighbor kids played school with her, but she always insisted on being the teacher. She knew the other kids just wouldn’t do it right. And yes, eventually that little girl did grow up to be a teacher.

When I think about why I am a teacher, my thoughts go back to when I was that little girl playing school in the basement. Back then, if you would have asked me why I wanted to be a teacher, I probably would have replied, “Because it’s fun.” Yes, then it was all fun and games, and now it is still fun, but also a lot of hard work. And now, I have many more reasons for why I want to be a teacher.

Lorene Fullmer
Second Grade
Copper Canyon Elementary

I am a teacher because I can’t imagine being anything else. Like many other teachers, I feel “called” to this profession. It isn’t just a job to me, but something that I was meant to do. I’m a teacher because I feel like I make a difference in the world.

As a teacher of young children, I know that when I teach them to read, I’m giving them a skill they will use for their entire life. When a student has a troubled home life, I may be one of the only people they can consistently count on to be there for them. I am a teacher because I love children and I love seeing the struggle that eventually turns into accomplishment.

I love seeing them learn and grow, inside and out, during the school year. I love that I also learn new things every day. I learn from the children as much as they learn from me. I am a teacher because teaching is one of the most creative jobs you can have. If you like to craft, write, draw, sing or invent, it’s all there in a teacher’s day.

We are continually trying to do better and thinking of ways to make lessons more interesting and more memorable. However, even though something is right, it doesn’t mean it is easy.

Being a teacher is hard, and there are some days I wonder why I am doing this. Then a student gives me a hug and says, “I love you. You’re the best teacher ever.” And I know that I made a difference in at least one child’s day, just as they did in mine. Tomorrow is always another day and a new beginning.

Sometimes in my mind, I visit the little girl playing school in the basement, and I wish that I could tell her that someday all her dreams would come true.
Lori Nickerson



After returning from Holiday Break your students will benefit from reviewing your classroom management expectations. Here are a few ideas and reminders to help your classroom start 2019 on the right foot!

  1. Review classroom rules and practice procedures. Students will need to be re-taught what is expected.
  2. Circulate among the kids. It allows you to give immediate reinforcement or corrective feedback.
  3. Deliver high rates of reinforcement.
    Pro-tip #1
    -Talk about the good behavior and say individual students’ names when praising.
    -Make sure to provide examples and non-examples of desired behaviors (but don’t use students’ names when giving non-examples).
    -Remember 6:1 ratio of positive reinforcement to correction!
  4. Give an attention cue before giving instructions.
  5. Use road mapping before starting a lesson or activity. It creates predictability and it is an antecedent to compliance.
    Pro-tip #2
    -Try using language such as “first we’ll do this… then we’ll do this.”
  6. Have materials ready to go before calling students to groups. Down-time can lead to behavior disruptions!
  7. Get creative about reinforcers. Watch and listen… students will show you what they want to earn.
    Pro-tip #3
    -Remember the basics of reinforcement are (IFEED-AV): Immediate, Frequent, Enthusiastic, Eye contact, Describe the Behavior, Build Anticipation, and Variety

Information from Melisa Genaux, Autism Specialist, Jordan School District


It’s the first day of school! Our state superintendent, Syd Dickson, has invited teachers in our state to participate in the #FirstDayofSchool Twitter and Facebook movement. She would like to see how many Utah teachers we can involve in this campaign. You can participate by posting a selfie with the downloadable sign from Concordia University’s website:

We hope to see your beautiful selfies with your sign to honor your years as a teacher! Have a great first day and a wonderful year!

The JSD Mentor Team! Our first day was August 1. #FirstDayofSchool

Suggested Twitter tags: #FirstDayofSchool,, #UTED, @DicksonSyd


Beginning your first year of teaching can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. Getting a classroom ready and planning those first few weeks can be all encompassing. Here are a few suggestions to make your transition to teaching in Jordan District a little easier:

1. Create an account in JPLS:

Here’s a new acronym for you to learn: Jordan Professional Learning System (JPLS). This is the district portal to find professional development classes offered in the district. To set up your account, you will want to contact the Help Desk at (801)-567-8737. The link is:

2. Sign up for a JPAS class:

JPAS (Jordan Performance Appraisal System) is our district evaluation system. Each year the JPAS department offers classes to help new teachers and veteran teachers learn how to work through the evaluation. New teachers even receive a stipend for taking the course if you attend the face-to-face version. Now that you have an account on JPLS, you can sign up for a class! Here’s their course schedule:

3. Become familiar with Employee Access:

Do you know where to enter a sick day? Employee access is where you can find out how many days you have, what your current salary is, and even get a check estimate for what your next paycheck might look like. If you need help figuring this out, your mentor may be a great resource. (Have you met your mentor yet?)  Here’s the link for Employee Access:


“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”

~John F. Kennedy

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”


“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”

~Alexander the Great    Your contributions of time, talent, and support offer great opportunities to kids, truly making a difference in their lives.  

Thanks for all you do!


Plan for Parents

Another stop along the path to a growth mindset school culture is to develop a plan for sharing information about the malleability of the mind with parents. It is important to get parents educated so that the children can hear a consistent message at home and school.

Parents often struggle with the nature/nurture debate and can contribute a child's success or lack of success to genetics. Adult role models should never blame genetics for perceived capabilities or low expectations.

Building Resilience

Children will eventually try to avoid anything where they are not sure that they will be successful rather then view the situation as challenge to arise to.  Here are some suggestions for building resilience in children

  •  Use growth mindset praise
  •  Model flexibility
  • Adopt a " glass half full" mentality in the home
  • Help children find their niche

How can Parents Communicate to a Growth Mindset Message To Teachers?

  1.  Always start with the positive- Tell the teacher something that your child loves about the class.
  2. Share what brings out the best at home-Include a relationship between resilience, motivation, effort, or other aspects you want addressed. Show how this changes the child's performance.
  3. Share what does not work-
  4. Establish the partnership- Make the teacher part of the plan of action that incorporates your beliefs, as well as his oh her practices.

Chapter 6 illustrates the importance of all three groups-students, teachers, and parents-to work together when building a growth mindset culture.  The most important of these is the adopting and of and maintaining of a growth mindset in children.

As you look to plan for next year, what are some ways than you can provide information to parents about having a growth mindset at home?  How can you  continue to build your mindset skills as a teacher in the classroom?

Chapter 7, will discuss if gifted education and a growth mindset belief can coexist?



5New teachers are generally stressed about JPAS. Here are some ideas that will help.

First Five Minutes of a Lesson

  • State behavior objectives – I need …. (JPAS Indicator 12)
  • State objective or I can statement – have students chorally read it (Indicator 25)
  • Tell students why it is important to learn this!!!!! HOOK (Indicator 17)
  • Make connections to what they are learning Give examples! (Indicator 17)
  • Teach Lesson Continue to monitor students to keep them on task
  • Re state objective (Indicator 25)
  • Self-assessment on understanding (indicators 53, 54, 40, 48)
  • thumbs up/down, 1-2-3 under the chin, ‘Fist of Five’
  • Self-assessment on the student’s personal behavior
  • thumbs up/down, 1-2-3 under, the chin, ‘Fist of Five’ (indicators 53, 43)

Just a Heads UP!  The JPAS class is an awesome class and well worth your time!  Also check out the JPAS website at



Isn't summer wonderful?  Sleeping in, re-acquainting with long lost family members, sipping iced beverages pool side, and attending professional development. Does one of these things not look like the others? Although the professional development may not be what some teachers might consider a highlight of summer, those who know actually look forward to the opportunity to learn ways to improve professionally. Remember, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The summer is where many of the solutions to problems of the previous school year are found and many of the potential problems of the next school year are prevented. There are many places to look for opportunities. A good place to start is at the USOE website. Summers off? Sort of.

USOE - Professional Development - Home Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

At this time of year, when so many of our students are in the thick of test taking, it seems natural to think about our own year's growth. How high have we climbed in the last year on what John Hattie calls the "ladder of excellence?" Whatever role in which we are presently cast, we might ask the same question. Whether a seasoned veteran mentor or a wide-eyed newbie, we are each somewhere reaching ever higher.

One of the primary objectives of a new teacher and mentor program at a school ought to be a focus on accelerating this rate of climb for new teachers and mentors alike. If the relationship is truly collaborative, both are enriched through the mutual benefit of experiences and expertise.

The type of growth hoped for in a mentoring relationship can only occur through a process of dialogue. As Paulo Freire describes it, dialogue is dependent on both members of the relationship having an equal voice and working together to construct an improved understanding. He says that "no one can say a true word alone—nor can she say it for another, in a prescriptive act which robs others of their words. Dialogue is the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world."

In such a complex profession as education, if we are to advance, we must engage in a constant process of naming and renaming the world. At the core of the work of an educator is something like what Wallace Stevens describes as a "response to the daily necessity of getting the world right." And to really get it right, we will need to share in the expertise of others who are similarly engaged in the same process.