They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds

They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds

We are about halfway through our residency, and I just finished my second Lead Teach; six full days of running our classroom on my own. It was exhausting and exhilarating and emotional, and I learned so much about myself and about my kids. On the first day, I started off by implementing a new morning greeting—an individual handshake, high five, or hug for each of my third graders. This was a huge hit with the kids, and it gave me an extra boost, too. Twenty-five hugs are a great way to start a Monday!

I also took some time with my students to talk with them about developing a growth mindset. Throughout the residency program, we have been working to cultivate our own growth mindsets—the idea that we are always learning, growing, and improving ourselves for the better. If we can’t do it yet, we will keep working and practicing until we can. If we think it’s too hard, we will keep pushing and work through our discomfort. If we make a mistake, we will learn from it and think about how we can improve the next time. If we feel like giving up, we will take a moment to adjust and ask for help if we need it.

In the same way that I rely on my mentor and co-resident for support and encouragement each day, I want my students to know that they can lean on me when they feel overwhelmed or defeated. A classroom where students feel supported in taking risks and making mistakes fosters an environment where students also feel capable of pushing through the difficult tasks of a rigorous curriculum and the great challenges of our daily lives.

Especially with all the current media and political buzz around the effectiveness of public education, I am inspired by the continued efforts of the teachers and students in my Chicago Public School. I can’t help but use the following quote as my daily mantra: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” I can’t wait to keep growing within the incredible classroom I call home.

Posted on February 16, 2017 by Kirstin Mulvaney


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About Kirstin Mulvaney

Kirstin Mulvaney is a resident in the AUSL Chicago Teacher Residency program teaching 3rd grade at Dewey School of Excellence in the New City neighborhood. Kirstin is originally from Livonia, New York and a graduate of Suffolk University where she majored in English.

The Chicago Teacher Residency is a full-time, yearlong urban teacher training program that equips residents with the training, skills, and strategies that will empower their students to pursue their dreams.

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