A Week of Giving THANKS -- Day 3!

Thanks, again to Blog Hoppin' for setting up this linky! I just love hopping around, seeing what everyone is thankful for! :) 
For Day 3, letter A, I am expressing my gratitude for AMAZING COLLEAGUES!!
I have been extremely blessed with some incredible co-workers. In my 4 years of teaching, a number of teachers have come and gone -- which is pretty common in our district. After my 1st year, we had a 50% turnover. My 2nd, about 30-40%. Following my 3rd year, we had to replace 3 out of 4 middle school teachers, 1 5th grade teacher, 1 3rd grade, 1 2nd, 2 1st, 1 Kindergarten, and all of our SPED team in addition to changes in our Academic Enhancement (Specialists) and Psychology. 
While, this is not necessarily the fault of the teachers being shifted about, in a school with such a high need, our students need better. So often, they are resistant to the constantly changing staff. However, those of us who have been around throughout the entirety of this turnaround have worked diligently to develop strong relationships with the students and their families as well as a strong, unified team of collaborators.
Just last year, we kicked off a Teacher of the Month Program, monthly Staff Breakfasts, performed a Staff & Student Flash Mob at City Hall, had not one... not two... but THREE teachers in our school receive various Teacher of the Year awards. We are a highly organized team, working to improve student achievement. We work to help one another -- covering missed preps, passing along resources, etc...
I know that this may sound like common practice in most schools, but unfortunately, this is not typically the case in our district. Past leadership across the city has developed an us-against-them mentality, causing individuals to work unilaterally, rather than cohesively. I am proud to be a member of such an incredible team.

Outside of the "school stuff", though... we truly are there for each other!

5th Grade teacher, and good friend of mine got married last year -- obviously we had to throw him a Bridal Shower!
I guess that's what happens when there are only 3 men on a staff of over 60!! :)
2 years ago, when I got married -- the staff barely even knew that it was happening! There was just SO MUCH confusion when my name changed. I am so glad to say that we have grown together and now readily acknowledge the so many good things that happen OUTSIDE of the classroom! Weddings, engagements, babies, new homes... all of it!

Every year, on the last day of school, the staff heads to Captain's Cove and it definitely brings some finality to the school year!
There is something so special about spending that last afternoon together. It is probably the 1 day of the year when we are all completely stress-free about work because by the next day, we're all planning our returns to set up classrooms, new class themes, analyzing how to begin the year, etc... but on this day, we can all R-E-L-A-X!!

More pictures with some great friends and co-workers! :)

Waiting for the photo booth at Joe's wedding!
 Who doesn't love a good wedding?! Who doesn't love making ridiculous faces with a group of great friends?! Working with these ladies is just so special. It makes every day better. These people truly understand me and where I'm coming from.

Alicia (2nd grade) and I ran our 1st every 5K this summer -- of course our super supportive co-workers were by our side!
This was a super proud moment for me. Hopefully, it is the first of many!

Anita (Kindergarten and my GPFL*) and I at the Red Sox game to cap off the summer!

*GPFL: Grade Partner for Life!
Anita and I both LOVE the Boston Red Sox, so when she was gifted 2 tickets to see them play at Fenway at the end of the summer, she and I made the trip up to our favorite city where we binged on delicious food and soaked in the last of our summer. Such a great little getaway!

Kelsey (7th & 8th grade Science) moved into a new apartment this summer -- obviously we were there to help her!

This smile is less I-have-a-new-apartment... and more Tiffany-you-are-ridiculous-why-must-you-photograph-everything?! But still... :)

Anita and I in our Halloween best this year! :)
Seriously, I love this beautiful girl! She and I began our teaching careers together -- hired within minutes of one another! We joke that at first, neither of us liked the other very much -- we irresponsibly formed opinions before ever even speaking! But now, we can't imagine life without the other. 
At the end of the day, no matter what is happening at work or in our home lives, we know that we have all got one another to lean on... and when your co-workers become some of your closest friends, there's nothing you can't achieve together!
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