Inspire Me

November 3, 2011 at 1:18 am Leave a comment

What inspires you?  I think of all the ways I’d like to inpsire others, teachers, administrators, students, anyone.  As of late, I’ve been incredibly inspired in my role.  For those of you that don’t personally know me, I’ll fill you in on my background.  I began my career as a classroom teacher, third grade to be exact.  After two years and some staffing issues, I moved onto  another district, only to find myself teaching first grade.  FIRST GRADE.. isn’t that the year we’re supposed to teach students how to read?  I panicked, looked to my former principal to mentor me through this and tell me that yes, I had it in me to not only teach children HOW to read, but to INSPIRE them to be great readers!  After four years of growing and thriving and soaking it up as much as my students, I was given an inspiring send off by the parents of my last group of first graders to continue to challenge and inspire students when I moved across the country.  Upon landing in my current home of South Carolina, I found myself in a fifth grade classroom, with a group of students so smart, and so willing to think outside the box, I became inspired even more!  Three years of that and I decided my time in the classroom was coming to end, I was thirsty for inspiration from great leadership and needed to move on.  A former principal saw something in me, that I really wasn’t sure I had, and recommended me as a Math coach to another principal.  A MATH COACH…. I was horrible in math, I didn’t like it, I failed at it, and I failed my students when it came to teaching math.  But nonetheless, my former principal saw in me that I had what it took to coach teachers, to inspire them to do better.  For three years I was at the school level as a math coach, learning right along with the teachers what best practices in math are, learning the problem solving that I had lost somewhere along the way while I got caught up in the right answers I thought I was supposed to have. Now I’m a district math coach.  Everyday the students I talk to, the teachers I collaborate with, and the “fresh” leaders I follow  truly do inspire me. 

Last week I attended a Leaders of Mathematics conference where I became inspired again.  I am passionate about looking at student data and looking at student work to get to the root of their thinking and learning.  Often this is thought of as being “touchy feely”, but to me it’s just having the conversation with a student to find out HOW  I can inspire him/her.   Today I listened to Yong Zhao present to our inspiring minds in the district.  When he spoke of “What really matters?” I wanted to kneel down on my knees and sing his praises!  I have always instilled in my students that greatness is an attitude and test scores don’t always reflect true greatness and that that is NOT all that matters.  No one has asked me for my SAT scores since I applied for college, yet here I am with less initials behind my name than some of my colleagues and more people listening to me and being inspired by what really matters.  So here’s something to ponder whether you are an educator, a business person, a parent, or a student:  What inspires you to teach students what really matters?  Are students inspired by test scores and grades, or are they inspired by teachers who ask the tough questions, who make them think , and who help them find inspiration? 



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Kristen Hahn

November 2011
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