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System 44
Collecting Memories
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Why do people collect things?  We collect things as reminders of special times. But if your house is like mine, you don’t have room for lots of unnecessary things.  And you certainly don't like having to dust around things either. 

But, there is a prized possession in my house that I don’t mind dusting around--the 180 Outstanding Educator Award that I received last year. It will always have a special place in my house, no matter how many times I have to dust around it because it always brings to mind fond memories of a special time in my life.

Being named System 44 Outstanding Educator made me feel empowered; empowered to continue changing the lives of my students. I'm always excited to see growth in my students but proving that growth is a different matter. The data from System 44 allows me to prove my students have grown. More importantly, it allows students to take ownership for their own growth and prove to themselves that they can become better readers!

Being named an Outstanding Educator made me feel proud; proud of working hard, without even realizing there could be a reward at the end. I didn’t start the year planning to win an award. I planned to give my students my best effort in hopes that they would give me theirs. We worked hard through the year and celebrated our successes.  The award was a nice surprise at the end of a year of hard work! 

Being celebrated at the Model Schools Conference was thrilling. While I certainly enjoyed the recognition, I enjoyed participating in professional learning for myself just as much. I will never forget the special treatment I received in Orlando or the valuable strategies I learned in the sessions planned specifically for READ 180 and System 44 Educators. You can read my blog from earlier in the fall that shared my favorite session.

Finally, being named System 44 Outstanding Educator made me feel honored; honored that I was chosen from many other qualified teachers to represent HMH and System 44. Teachers are some of the hardest working and least acknowledged professionals. In fact, we don't teach for the recognition. But last summer, I realized that having others acknowledge my hard work made me feel appreciated for what I do and being appreciated makes me want to continue doing my best every day for every student.

So good luck to this year’s nominees for the 180 Outstanding Educator Award. You may not know it yet, but you are about to be recognized in a special way. And you deserve it! I learned this from HMH team members who convinced me that I deserved to be proud and it is okay to show it. Checkout our Facebook Live from Model Schools 2018. I do not look nervous because my peers sitting around me gave me confidence. We became colleagues that week. We collected memories togethers and this is what I now wish for new nominees, finalists, and winners. You will never forget the process, acknowledgement, and how you will get treated like the star that you are! You might have to do a little bit of dusting, but it will be well worth it!


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LaGrange, GA

Ms. Giddens has made a career out of doing whatever it takes to help struggling readers overcome personal and academic obstacles. She has embraced System 44, and her classroom instructional practices are used to familiarize and train other teachers on the program’s implementation.

1 Comments
  • sallyd

    Great post! I look forward to meeting you sometime soon! I LOVE System 44! Sally