Ten Bitmoji

The Number Ten

Caitlin Gawlowski Elementary, Life in the Classroom, Uncategorized

SHARE THIS STORY: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+

The number ten is significant to me this year. Ten is the number of years my husband and I have been together. Ten is the number of fingers on your hand and toes on your feet. Ten is the birthday when a child goes from single digits to double digits. Ten is where one regrouping occurs between ones and tens, tens and hundreds, and so on. Ten is the number of months I was pregnant with my son (Thanks for the late arrival, little man). Ten denotes the end of a cycle, so it is fitting that in my tenth year of teaching I am leaving the homeroom classroom.

This year, my tenth year of teaching, I will begin a new role as an Academic Interventionist. If you would have asked me if I would become an Academic Interventionist ten years ago, my response would have been, “What is that?” When I first became a teacher I never would have dreamed of leaving the classroom for anything. It was my dream to become a teacher and impact the lives of children.

Several years after achieving my dream of becoming a teacher, I began wondering what would come next. I could not possibly be “done” with school and learning at the age of 21 years old. I soon realized there were things called endorsements that I could add to my teaching certificate to become highly qualified to teach various classes such as gifted education, math, reading, and much more. In 2014 I decided on pursuing a Reading endorsement and began taking classes to become a Reading Specialist. At the time I pictured using these skills to help the second-grade students in my classroom learn to read. I was working at a Title 1 school that had many students performing below grade level and I felt I was ineffective at teaching reading. “Becoming a reading specialist will help me reach these students,” I thought to myself. The more classes I took, the more I became fascinated with teaching reading and learning new ways to reach my struggling readers.

Flash forward to 2016 – I put taking classes toward becoming a Reading Specialist on hold and I start the process to become a National Board Certified Teacher. At the time, I never thought I would leave the classroom, and that becoming an NBCT would help me reach my students, both struggling and advanced, better. Well, my friend talked me into it, too. (Thanks, Cassie!)

Between 2016 – 2018 I worked on submitting components 1-4 and in December 2018 I saw fireworks and became a National Board Certified Teacher, which started the avalanche of major life events. Two months later in February 2019, I gave birth to my first child. Eight months later in October 2019, I married my husband. Five months after that in March 2020, the world went into quarantine to combat COVID-19. Five months later, the 2020-2021 school year began with my district opting for remote instruction for approximately 75% of the school year.

I have been reflecting on my teaching experience a lot this summer. When I began my teaching journey ten years ago, I never imagined leaving the classroom. But, my attitude has always been “never say never” since your views and dreams grow and change as you grow up like mine certainly have since becoming an NBCT, wife, and mother; and because life can take many unexpected twists and turns, such as a global pandemic unexpectedly changing the world and life as we knew it. Now, ten years later, I can see that ultimately my dream has been to help students learn and grow in any capacity. I am so excited to gain a new perspective of how a school works and use the skills I have learned these past ten years to impact students!

And now, here we are: beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. My position was created in response to COVID-19 and is funded by a grant to help get students back to the grade level norms that were in place before COVID impacted our lives. I will be working with students in small groups in various grade levels to become stronger readers, as well as many new things that I am sure will come up over the course of the school year. With my tenth year of teaching beginning, and the end of my time in the homeroom classroom, I am ready to begin this new chapter and tackle the challenges of this school year.


Caitlin was born to be a teacher, although she did not realize that teaching was her calling until she went to college. She has always loved to write, and began college with the mindset of becoming a journalist. Before beginning her freshman year of college, she changed my major to Elementary Education on a whim and has never looked back. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, and won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award during her student teaching experience in the Cave Creek Unified School District. Caitlin spent 9 years in the classroom teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. She became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018, and holds a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts. The 2021-2022 school year marks the beginning of her 10th year teaching, where she will be working as an Academic Interventionist, and supporting other National Board candidates on their journey toward National Board certification. If she is lucky enough to have free time, you can find her traveling Arizona with her husband and son, spending time with her friends and family, taking group fitness classes, or enjoying a good book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *