Do any of these sound like you?
- You are (or want to become) “that teacher” – the one parents AND students hope they get each year.
- You want to help your struggling learners, but you feel overwhelmed by all the intervention and supports it takes to do that.
- You constantly feel the struggle between your class' needs and your family.
You are NOT alone!
I was in your shoes for many years.
I'm Rebecca Davies – the face behind the screen here at The Third Wheel Teacher.
I am passionate about creating an engaging classroom that challenges and supports all learners. I love differentiation and helping struggling students feel the success they worried wasn't possible. I also know how difficult it
I’ve been in the guilt spiral that many of you are probably experiencing trying to balance the needs of your classroom and family during my time as a teacher and instructional coach.
I know the overwhelm of trying to create and prep engaging, differentiated lessons to meet the diverse needs of today's classroom while still trying to find the time and energy to make dinner, attend dance recitals and baseball games, and be an active part of your own family.
I also know the excitement of watching a spark of excitement ignite in a struggling or disengaged learner. It's the reason we get up every day and keep teaching.
Supporting struggling learners is hard.
Regardless of whether you have students experiencing behavior issues or academic challenges, working with struggling learners is hard.
The pressures of trying to fill gaps in knowledge and skills can feel overwhelming. Throw in the added challenge of overstuffed classrooms and documentation requirements, and it can feel insurmountable.
Managing it all is hard, and all the extras that happen after the bell rings don't make it any easier.
I'm here to help!
I started this site in 2010 to share my experiences in the classroom. Over the site has morphed into a place where I get to share research-based best practices, tips, and resources that made teaching easier for me.
My goal is to provide you with valuable information…not just fluff.
I want to help you engage, support, and challenge your students. I also want to make finding the materials and ideas you need a little easier so you can have more time and energy for your own family.
We're in this together.
As you read through this page, I hope you'll find ideas that will help you work with your struggling learners. I'll share the things that have worked for me, what the current research says, and the mistakes I've made along the way.
And if you just don't have time to dig through information because you just need a resource NOW, you can always just hop on over to my shop on Teachers Pay Teachers to get classroom resources and ready-to-use materials.
There you'll find resources that are:
- standards-aligned for long-term student success
- engaging & approachable for students without sacrificing rigor
- easy to prep and implement
- designed to easily differentiate
Here's my story
I am a mom, wife, and teacher. I am actually probably a lot like you trying to juggle all the hats I wear each day.
I didn't grow up planning to be a teacher. Although, I had always been actively involved in mentoring and teaching during my teenage years.
How I became a teacher…
After my first year as a grad student, I realized my heart wasn't in the testing and consulting role that school psychologists hold. I wanted to get in the classroom and get my hands dirty. I wanted to enact the plans for that would help struggling students instead of just writing them.
The pull was so strong, I actually did just that. I applied and was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows collaborative program with Teach for America.
I packed up my things and moved to New York City where I taught in a multi-grade special education classroom in Queens while working toward a graduate degree in education.
That year my class consisted of a group of 2nd, 3rd, and
They struggled to manage their behavior. There were daily fights between students and I
I struggled to survive without enough materials, support, or experience to know what to do.
But we made it…
While that year was hard and the tears regularly flowed on my 2-hour subway ride to and from my school, I could see that the work I was doing mattered. School became a safe space for my students. As the year went on, I built relationships with my students and their families. There
Was it perfect? Ummm…nope.
The kids I was teaching had significant behavioral and academic needs. I had no experience and my knowledge were all from the articles and books I had read in my school psych program.
The next steps
While there wasn't a fairy tale ending, that experience only strengthened my desire to bring the skills and knowledge of a school psychologist into the classroom.
I went on to get my master's degree in school psychology along with master's degrees in curriculum & instruction and educational administration.
I got certified to teach special education, gifted education, elementary general education, English as a Second Language, and to be an administrator…because you just never know where life will lead.
I moved to Texas and started teaching special education. Then I transitioned into general education and found that I truly loved teaching third grade.
I threw myself into my work, devoting hours each night and on weekends. I prepped, planned, and created materials for my classroom. I helped teammates plan their lessons. I mentored new teachers and partnered with colleagues to plan campus-wide learning opportunities.
Then life changed.
I got married, had a baby….then 2 more after that.
I discovered the internal struggle that so many of my coworkers were all too familiar with. It was impossible to do it all for my students and my family.
As I worked to balance my growing family, I was offered an instructional coaching position supporting the Response to Intervention systems in our district.
The RTI process is a huge passion for me, and it was an offer to good to refuse. I was able to work with campus administrators and interventionists to help them better understand their screening data, plan research-based interventions, and create systems for monitoring progress.
While I missed the classroom, it was a great opportunity to share what I had learned all those years in Minnesota as a school psych student.
It also offered me the opportunity to present at the national Staff Development for Educators Conference and several other conferences.
About a year ago, I found out I would be having a third baby. At that point, my husband and I sat down and decided that I would take a break to focus on building up this site and connect with all of you. Our middle child has some developmental challenges so it would allow me to run her to her appointments, take care of our new little guy, and still feel connected to the classroom.
So where do we go from here?
My heart still aches to be back in the classroom, but for the next few years, I will have to live vicariously through all of you.
While The Third Wheel Teacher started as a way for me to connect with other teachers to share the challenges and successes I was experiencing in the classroom, today it is way for me to stay connected.
I know how hard you work and how precious your time is. My hope is that I can share tips and tools to make things a little easier. I'd love to help you find ways to support your struggling learners without sacrificing your home life.
Most importantly, I want to say thank you. I know your time is precious and you have so little of it to yourself. I am so grateful you'd choose to spend it here.