Wisdom from a Reading Diva

with Emily Muccianti

How to Deal With Mean Girls at School, and I Don't Mean the Students


I’ve always been a people pleaser, and it is in my nature to want to be liked.  I don’t know if that is good or bad, but it is who I am.

I think there are a lot of us out there in education– the teachers that want to be liked by students, parents, administrators, and colleagues.  Sometimes this can be contrary to what the job entails such as student and parent relationships.  It’s just not possible to be liked by everyone and be seen as the leader of your class.

And sometimes you just have to deal with those that are not so nice themselves.  Quite honestly, it can be a blow to your confidence and self-worth.

So today we will talk about how to deal with challenging administrators, aloof colleagues, and some just plain mean girls (or boys).

Most of you know I’ve been in this business for a very long time and every few years I come face to face with a 'bonafide ‘mean girl’ and I’m not referring to the...

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How to Maximize Your Earning Potential as a New Teacher

Don't Make This Mistake!

I recently spent the weekend with my three best girlfriends in the world!  Like all good girls’ weekends, each morning we chat over coffee about all things from world peace to the new wrinkle repair products we’ve discovered.

Inevitably we start chatting about retirement planning as we dream of a new footloose and fancy free lifestyle.

One of my girls, who is also a teacher of 20 plus years, mentions that she needs to find units to move up the pay scale.  I’m thinking, “What?!  Now?! You’re three years away from retirement!  What happened?”  Knowing me, I said it out loud and with far more passion than I would recommend.  

But the conversation got me thinking about how new teachers, early in their career, make this same mistake because it’s not talked about enough.  

So today, we are looking at how to maximize your earning potential while in the classroom and beyond.


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Surviving the COVID Slide in Reading

Uncategorized Jan 30, 2021

The pandemic rages on as educators everywhere fear for the COVID slide expected in literacy rates when we return to traditional schooling.  This is a valid fear, for sure, but it is not something we should be waiting on before we develop a plan.   There is an option for schools and districts everywhere that is right under our noses and doesn’t involve pushy publishers or expensive experts.  What is this magic pill, you ask?  The answer lies within the hearts, hands, and minds of our beloved paraeducators. 

Paraeducators are too often the unsung heroes of education.  They work, oftentimes, out of the kindness of their hearts for very little pay and recognition.  We see them in so many capacities within our schools:  special education aide, one-on-one support, push in classroom para, assistant kindergarten teachers, after school tutors, yard duty or cafeteria supervisors.  There are those that have been given small groups of students...

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Managing Test Anxiety and Overwhelm

passing the rica Jan 23, 2021

Your hands start to sweat, your heart is beating out of your chest, you're having trouble breathing, and your mind is racing.... sound familiar?  Test anxiety is a REAL thing, and it can be REALLY scary!  Most importantly, it can affect your performance on some very high stakes tests.  Knowing that the stakes are so high can only compound problems and create a vicious cycle of stress, anxiety, and complete overwhelm.

You've heard a few of the common ways to handle your test anxiety:  deep breathing, positive affirmations, positive imagery, exercise, adequate sleep, eating right.  All of these are very important, I agree, but they miss the reason that test anxiety exists in the first place.  It typically comes from the feeling that you will fail.  This fear breeds a sense of overwhelm that can be down right impossible to stop.  It can even trigger panic attacks!  These are not fun!  Believe me... been there, done that.

So in...

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Why do I even need to take the RICA?

passing the rica Jan 16, 2021

I get it... the frustration of yet again another hoop you have to jump through to finally get into the classroom.  You are tired! You have taken all your courses, passed all the other testing requirements, and now you are looking down the barrel of the RICA.  Why is becoming a teacher this hard? 

You may have long dreamt about the beautiful children you will teach, the fun activities and lessons you will create, and the Pinterest perfect classroom you will show off.  Why do you even have to take this stupid test? You are meant to be a teacher!  A test cannot truly measure your worth as an educator, right?

Well, yes... but a bit of a no, too.  Hear me out.

Reading is the single most important skill you will teach at the elementary level.  It is the foundation and the building blocks to all other learning.  It shapes a student's desire to learn, their self-esteem, and their willingness to take academic risks.  In fact, proficient...

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I Didn't Pass the RICA! Now What?

passing the rica Jan 09, 2021

Hey there, friend!

So your results came back, and you didn't pass.  ARGHHH!!! What do you do now?  It's time to REGROUP. 

Many factors go into creating the right combination of scores within the Multiple Choice and Constructed Responses.  And yes, the content is super difficult to master, but master it your will!  

First, it's time for some tough love here.  You may not like it, but you need to hear it.  The responsibility lies with you.  You are in the driver's seat.  You control how you prepare and what you choose to do.

That being said, there are certainly steps you should take and resources you should use to help you prepare.  But how you use those resources is completely up to you!  I always find it interesting when someone asks me, "If I enroll in your course, do you guarantee that I will pass?"  I absolutely cannot guarantee a pass.  I wish I could! But how you use what I create is - you guessed...

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