I don’t know about you, but yesterday was a rough one for me. Not bad, so much, just rough. You know those kind of days?
I gave a test. I had high expectations. It went horribly wrong. My prediction of high averages were dashed on the rocks of reality.
I gave the students an opportunity to give me some feedback about behavior. They rated me, themselves, and the class. It is never nice to have to look into the mirror of perception! Nothing surprised me too much, but it doesn’t feel good to know what you thought is true.
So here I am this morning left with two things to come to grips with:
- The students didn’t learn what I thought they learned.
- I have as much to work on in myself as I thought I did.
So, what do I do with that? Do I beat myself up? Do I wallow in it for a while? Or do I pick my teacher hind parts up off the floor and get to work?
“Life is not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how many times you get back up.”
It does not matter what a dose of real does to me. It does not matter if it knocks me down. It matters if I learn from it and change. It matters if I find a way to make what I need to do or teach work. It is more than an idea. It is a necessity.
It is a necessity as a human being. It is a necessity as an adult. It is a necessity as a teacher. But more than these, it is a necessity as a role model to my students.
I must get up. I must brush myself up. I must make changes. I must try again.
I must because one day the must do the same.
It is not about me.
It is about them.
I will get up today. I will brush myself off today. I will make changes. I will try again.
I will do these things because I am going to ask my students to do the same. I ask them to do this every day. They need to see me do it first. They will see me do it today.
How about you? What do you do when you are knocked down as a teacher? How do you handle it? How do you teach your students to get back up? Do they see you do it? Do the see you do it with grace? Do they see you do it with style? Will they and can they see you do it today?
I know that you get back up. You are a teacher. You have to. Can you get back up better today than yesterday? Can you show your students what it takes to bust through failure to get to success?
You are awesome! You do get back up. You do it with awesome. Help you students to that with awesome today! You are amazing! You are making a difference! Keep on teaching and getting back up, Teacher!
For two wonderful, glorious minutes I thought today was Friday. Then like a slap to the face the shock set in that it was merely Thursday. It was like a cold water wake up…but now I am away to my Thursday reality.
That reality is simple:
- I am a teacher.
- It is a school day.
- I have a job to do.
- I have minds to mold.
- I have hearts with which to connect.
- I have students’ needs to meet.
- I have arrows to block from my students.
- I have monsters that need to be fought for my students.
- I have content to teach.
- I have concepts to make real.
- I have weight that I need to carry for others.
- I have lessons that need to be lessened.
- I have ideas that need to be thought.
- I have thoughts that need to be communicated.
- I have too much to do and prioritizing that needs to happen.
- I have a future to affect.
- I have a world to make better.
- I have a difference to make.
- I have students who need me.
- I have me to be.
- I am a teacher.
The thing is, no matter what day of the week it is. You, I, and all teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world. We need to embrace all that we are as educators. I hear others (and myself) complain about all that we have to be for students. I am not talking about standards and administration expectations…I mean all that we have to be for students. We have to give them supplies. We have to make sure the get to where they are going. We have to remind, reteach, and re-give instructions until we can’t take it anymore. We have to be nurses. We have to be moms and dads. We have to be mentors. We have to be protectors. We have to be advocates. We have to be forgiving. We have to be patient. Oh, and we have to be teachers. We have so much that we have to be. It is easy to be overwhelmed.
I need to spend more time embracing these all-too-many roles that I have. I need to remember why I do what I do. It is because I care for my students. If they do not have what they need outside of school in these many parts we have to play, then we need to be those things and do so with pride. This is why we are in this game to start with. We are here to make a difference. We need to make that difference and do so joyfully…even when we are too tired to do so much.
And even when it is not Friday.
You are so awesome. I know you are better at embracing these things than I am. One day I will be as good as you. You are making that difference. You are embracing those roles. You are amazing! Keep on teaching and making a difference, Teacher!
Today is your day. Do what you need to do. You know what your students need. Do what is best for them.
Need to change your plans? Change them.
Need to adjust a teaching method? Adjust it.
Need to change how you are dealing (or not dealing) with a certain student? Make that change.
Do what you need to do today.
You’ve got this!
You are a teacher!
You know what to do.
Do it today!
You are awesome. You’ve got this today. Be who you need to be. Do what you need to do. Never forget that I believe in you! You are making a difference, keep doing what you do! Keep on teaching, Teacher!
Sorry for the sparsity if my communication with you lately. I have wanted to write. I have wanted to communicate with you. I have needed to try to talk to you. But there has been so much going on.
How are you? How is the school year? How is everything going? Did you get a lot of snow?
Things have been crazy. Not that crazy is anything outside of normal for the life of a teacher. Actually, I guess I should say that things have been normal. For me only one thing has changed. Perspective. This one change has set my world into a temporary spin, though.
In December (I think), I finally came to terms with the fact that I have ADHD. I have not been officially diagnosed, but I now know it is the truth of my reality. I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (a name for my thinking style that I find completely offensive, but more on that later).
I have been fighting accepting this for years. Everyone was far more sure of it than I was. I do not know why I fought it for so long. There is nothing to be ashamed of. However, I felt like it was accepting a lesser lot in life to accept that I have it.
This self-diagnosis has changed a lot for me. I was pretty sure that I was not “normal” before, but now I am quite sure of it. I do not think like most people. I struggle to stay focused on one thing at a time. I do not have a typical train of thought (it is more like a system of zip-lines). I am not like most people.
I have ADHD. I probably am not thinking what you are thinking. That is it. It is a reality. I have to deal with it. In some ways, so do you.
I am sharing this for two reasons. One is that I want explain about the absence of new posts to the blog. The second is that I want to explain why the topic of ADHD my pop up here from time to time.
Coming to grips with my ADHD has taken up a lot of my thinking “free space.” When I have time to blog, I really have not been able to focus on what I would like to write about. A part of ADHD is the ability to think about more than one thing rather deeply at once (which I see as a strength and not a deficit). I used to be good at that. It is one of the reasons that I was able to write so much here before. I could balance everything in my life and still have extra room in my brain to open one more “app” and be able to write something thoughtful here. Now that app-space is taken up by my analyzing how everything I do could be a part of the “disorder.” Sometimes I can not help what I think about. This is one of those times.
So, that explains that for you. :)
Now on to why I might mention ADHD from time to time. Accepting that I have it and analyzing why I do everything that I do has taught me A LOT about teaching. It has also taught me a lot about my students. I now have a special connection with some of my hardest case students because most of them share the diagnosis of ADHD with me. I have been able to understand them better. I have been able to see their strengths and weaknesses. I have been able to help them better work with themselves and start to control their thought life better.
There is something cool about that, though.
I have found that if it works for my ADHD students, it works for all of my students! It has been a really cool progression over the last couple of months. I really want to share some of what I have learned.
In closing, I want to ask you to be patient with me. Please don’t give up on the blog! I will be back. I will get back into the swing of things soon. Hopefully, as I come back from my ADHD journey I will bring back some helpful thoughts and ideas to help you be a better teacher.
I hope that all is going well for you! I hope that you have been able to recover from the missing school days if you have had a slew of them like me. I know that you are probably doing great. You know why? Because you are awesome! Please keep being awesome! I know you will because you are amazing! Keep on teaching, Teacher!
I know, the title sounds a bit negative, but this is far from a negative message. It is a question we teachers need to think about every day before every class or lesson taught in a day. We need to ask ourselves this question because our students are going to come in with this question. What is the point?
I find that my best teaching days do not revolve around activities planned. They do not hinge on the minutia of my lesson plans. They do not even focus on the details of my standards that I hope to address. No, they have nothing to do with these things (though they help).
My best days hang on having a goal. They have a “point,” so to speak. Great teaching days come when I have a concept or idea (based on my standards) that I focus on in the lessons and activities. I hang my hat on these things. If the lesson goes another way than I planned, I roll with it. If my students come in with too much energy to do what I hoped to do, I adjust. I adjust to them and in a way that still focuses on my goal.
This, I believe, is one of the keys to being a great teacher.
You need to know what the “point” of the day needs to be. Then, no matter what the day brings, you move hell and high water to meet that goal. Have back up activities in mind. Know some good real world examples that you can bring up. Have some challenge problems you can have the students work through. Know your materials. Know your content. Know your stuff. Change an old activity to make it fit in the moment. Roll with the punches. Be flexible. And beyond all else, make your “point” your goal and do not sweat the small stuff that got in the way of your plans.
Make your goal, your point, happen, no matter what!
I share this today because I need to hear this. I have A LOT of things planned for my students. I am a science teacher, so there are a lot of details for me to work out with activities. However, I can not let these activities make or break my day. I need to focus on what I want them to get (the relationship between electricity and magnetism that causes electromagnets in my case). No matter what, I need my students to understand this one thing.
- If I have to adjust my plans, so be it.
- If I have to do demos instead of hands-on for a class, it is not a big deal.
- If the lesson takes a turn I do not expect, I can roll with it.
I have one goal in mind. I know what they need to understand, and this is what will make my lessons. I do not have to stress over things not working out the way I planned. I just need to get to my “point.”
I can do this. You can do this. We can do this!
So what is your point today? What is the one thing you need your students to get by the end of your lesson? How will you roll with the punches? How will you get to the point?
You are awesome! You’ve got this! This is your day. You will get to the point, I know it. You are amazing. You are making a difference! Keep on teaching, Teacher!
Last post, I encouraged you not to waste your todays. Today I just want to remind you of that. Today is all you have. Today is what your students need ythatou to use.
Do something today.
Do something big.
Do something meaningful.
Do something lasting.
Make today count. Do not let it slip away. Make it last for a student. Make it last for all of them. Make something of today.
You are awesome! I know you will make today a memory worth having for someone. Remember that I believe in you. I think that you are an amazing teacher. Keep on teaching, Teacher!
I don’t know what you are going through. I do not know if yesterday was the best day ever or a day to try to forget forever. I don’t know if you are in an upswing or a down. I just don’t know where you are in your teaching life.
I do know one thing, though. I know what you have. You have this no matter what you are feeling or going through in you life and your role as a teacher. This one thing is more precious than gold or money (though more of those would be nice).
You have today.
You have today.
You have today.
Today is not only something that you have. Today is really the only thing you have.
You know the saying, “Yesterday is gone and we are not promised tomorrow.” It is an old and tired statement, but it is nonetheless true. Today is all that we have. It is the only thing that we can be positively sure of.
What are you going to do with it? How are you going to use it? How will you make it count? How will you make it last?
Are you going to use it up on bemoaning yesterday?
Are you going to waste it on worrying about tomorrow?
Or will you make every second something worthwhile? Can I challenge you to try?
Will you use it to connect more with your students? Will you make your lessons something that will be remembered? Will you make students feel special? Will you make them feel loved?
Just like you, our students only have today. They need it to count. They need it to last. They need it to mean something.
Will you be the one to help them do it?
Will you help them make today matter in their lives?
They need you to.
You need you to.
You are a teacher and that is what you do.
Today is what you have. Use it well, friend, use it well.
You are AWESOME! You are more than amazing. I know that you will make today count, matter, and last. You will teach your students to do the same. You are making a difference. Don’t you forget it! Keep on teaching, Teacher!