To Be a Teacher…


Dear Teacher,

I am sorry that my words of encouragement have been few and far between this year.  It has been a rough and busy school year.

But I guess that this is not news to you.

As I talk to and get feedback from other teachers, I am hearing the same thing from them.  It is a tough year.  There is no time.  It is all that I can do to keep my head above water.

We are all just trying to survive this year, aren’t we.

It isn’t easy for any of us, even the most veteran teachers.

This school is is just plain difficult.

I have some good news and some encouragement for you today.

The Good News:  For most of us, this school year is half-way over!

And there was much rejoicing.

The Encouragement:

You know what takes to be a good teacher.  Nay.  You know what it takes to be a GREAT teacher.  You know because you are one.

I know that this is a trying year.  There is so much extra on your plate.  There are so many curve balls to contend with and handle.  There is just a lot of…well…everything this year.  It is not easy to let your greatness show.

But, you awesome teacher, you, know what your students need.  You know what is best.  You know how to reach and teach even the most difficult students in your class.  You know what it takes to get your students where they need to go.  You have the knowledge and the know-how!

I have four words for you: Stick to your guns!

Stay true to the teacher that you know you are.  Sometimes that means having to fight battles over what is best for your classroom.  Sometimes you just have to go through the motions of the extra that you are asked to do.  Sometimes you need to let a few of those unneeded plates drop (you know all of those many plates that you have to spin for the sake of spinning and not for the sake of the precious ones in your class).  Sometimes you just have to stand up for what is right.

It is not always easy to do, but you have to remember who you are there for…your students.

I know, there is voice after voice after voice telling you the best way to do your job.  Sometimes those voices are right.  Sometimes you are already doing a good job and can afford to put some voices on mute.  Have the courage to do that.  Find the voices that count, but don’t forget your own.

Be courageous and do what needs to be done today.

Make your students your goal.

Remember them today.

Be strong.

You can do it!

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You are awesome and I completely believe in you!  You have what it takes to do what it takes.  You are making a difference!  You are strong and courageous.  I know that you will make choices today that will help your students be everything that they can be!  Keep going!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher


Words You Might Just Need to Hear…


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

You may have had a great day yesterday.  It might have been a bad one.

You might be facing difficulty at school today.  You might be looking forward to the best day ever.

You might be energized from break.  You might be completely worn down from the school year.

I don’t know where you lie in the the spectrum of these between the extremes, but I do know one thing.

You are a great teacher.

It doesn’t always feel that way.  As a matter of fact, it seems like the curve balls of life want you to believe anything but that is true.

But it is true.

Teaching is hard, and getting harder, but you are good at it.  You have a knack for it.  You are skilled.  You have gifts and talents that make you one of the best.

Don’t listen to the doubt.

Trust.

You know what you are doing.

Have faith.

You make good decisions for the betterment of your students.

Know.

All difficulties seem in the distant past when what you are doing for the sake of students pans out in the end.

Rest.

You can rest assured of the fact that you are a good teacher.  Cling to that for dear life.

Hold on.

Things always get better.  You know this.

Be.

Be that excellent teacher that you are.  Stand firm.  Keep fighting.  Keep going.

Teach.

Do what you are meant to do…and be great at it!  You’ve got this!

wpid-storagesdcard0MemesAwesome-High-School-Teacher.jpg.jpg

Teacher, you are amazing.  You are awesome!  Do not let the world around you beat you up.  We go through storms as teachers, but we can ride them out.  Never lose faith in what you are meant to do.  You are a teacher.  You are meant to teach.  Hang on, Friend, it will get better!  Keep going, fighting, and never stop teaching!

Love, Teacher


End of Break End of Day


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It’s Grow Time


Dear Teacher,

Happy New Year!  And so a new one begins, huh?  I am not sure what this school year has been like for you so far, but you have a fresh start to the second half.  What are you going to do with it?

Image: Wikipedia

I can’t help but think of a new year as a seed.  It is something that is up to you on how it will grow.  Like I teach my students whenever I teach my unit on plants, seeds stay dormant until they have the right conditions to grow.

I moved into my current classroom and curriculum three years ago.  In one of the drawers, I have many as a science teacher, I found a bag of beans.  I had no idea how old they were and decided not to use them….until this year.

Image: Wikipedia

This year, I went a little “grow crazy” during the plant unit and tried to plant as much as I can using the big grow light set-up we have.  I remembered those seeds.  I did the germination in a damp paper towel thing, and despite the age of the seeds, they still germinated!

I planted them, watered them, and let time and nature do the rest.  As I said, I grew several things all at the same time.  I was disappointed that, though many things flowered, nothing came to fruit…or so I thought.

Another teacher came to observe in my room and we got talking about my plants and how the plants flowered by nothing else.  He knows a lot more about growing than I do, and he started looking through them.  And he found something…on the bean plants.  He found little bean pods.  Not only did they grow, they produced more seeds!  I was disappointed in the size until some students and I started looking through the plants and we found large bean pods!  It was a cool moment for this science teacher who is bad at growing stuff!

(c)DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

(c)DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Though the beans were who-knows-how-old, they were still dormant and waiting for the right conditions to grow.

Why did I share this story?

Teacher, you may have had a rough school year.  Not much may seem to have happened for you or your students.  You may have seen nothing but seedlings so far…or worse, you just see empty soil.

Do not give up!

You have a fresh start coming up!

Your seeds may still just be dormant.

You just need the right conditions for growth!

I do not know what growth or the right conditions look like for you, but you do.  What will it take to make that happen?  What do you need?  What do you need to focus on?

Stop whining about what is going wrong this year and work on what is going right!  Give yourself and your students the light, water, and nutrients needed for growth!  Reflect, regroup, and regrow!

(c)DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

(c)DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You can do it!

You know what it takes!

You have what it takes!

It time to get growing!

It is grow time, Teacher!

You are awesome and I know you have what it takes to get things growing this year.  You are an amazing teacher.  You are making a difference.  Don’t give up!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

 


Year-End Close Out Pep Talk


Dear Teacher,

So, the old Earth is finishing up another trip around the Sun.  New Year’s Day is kind of like Earth’s birthday.  Another year is over and it is time to start a new one.  I bet you are reflecting aren’t you?  It is kind of the human thing to do.

Image: Wikipedia

How was this year for you?  What were the highs?  What were the lows?  How are you feeling about a new one starting?

Since you are in an introspective mood, I want to give a challenge to your inner monologue.

There is something you need to think about.  The year is over, but the school year isn’t even halfway.  This has been a difficult school year for most of us.  We have been beat-up, beat-down, and you just feel beat.

You need something to get you through the rest of the year.

You need one thought.

You need a reminder.

This is a reminder only you can give yourself.

You need to answer one question, and I think you should answer it right now.  Write down your answer.  Give some reasons why you answered the way that you did.  Put it somewhere to remind you for the rest of the year.

Are you ready?

Why are you a teacher?

I know, I know, this year you have probably asked yourself that a lot…with sarcasm and negativity.  That is not what I am talking about.  You need to reflect on the whole reason why you became a teacher in the first place.  You need to think about the heart of what and why you do what you do and deal with what you have to deal with.  There has to be a reason.  You probably have many.

Image: Wikipedia

I bet your reason has little to do with content.  It probably has everything to do with students and making a difference.  I know this is the case for me.

Let me give you my reasons.  This is more for me than for you…because I am a teacher and I need to do this as much as you do!

Why am I a teacher?

  • I have a huge heart and am filled with compassion for people that have little to no resources (aka…live at or near the poverty line)…teaching at a Title I school is a great way to have an impact and make a difference.
  • I want to help students, especially at-risk boys, start thinking through choices and become leaders in their families and communities.
  • I love to learn and pass that love of learning on to others.
  • I love the process of teaching and learning and I love to teach others how to learn better.
  • I am creative and obviously have a gift for teaching, I would be miserable not using my abilities and talents to help others.
  • Teaching is in my blood and I live for it…I would be bored doing anything else.

I can probably come up with 1000 more reasons, but I think this is a enough for now.  That was helpful to my teaching heart and teaching soul!  Thanks for letting me do that here!

What about you?  Why are you a teacher?

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You are awesome and you are good at what you do!  I highly recommend some reflection on your reasons for teaching.  It might make you ready to endure more of what is wearing you out this year.  You have a reason.  You have a purpose.  You are making a difference.  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher


A Little Reminder


Dear Teacher,

I hope that you have had a restful, resetting break so far!  I really do.

As the business of Christmas settles down I know that thoughts of school are starting to creep back in.  I know this is true because you are a great teacher.

This is why I am writing to you today.  I want to say thank you.  Thank you for being a great teacher.  Thank you for all that you do.  Thank you for your patience.  Thank you for your creativity.  Thank you for you!

You are amazing!

You are a gift to your students.

You are a gift to education.

You are a gift to the world!

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!

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You are awesome.  You are making a difference.  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher


The Reset Button


Dear Teacher,

I hope that you are finally on break now.  If not, I hope today is your last day!  You need it!  You deserve a little break.

Today’s message is going to start a little differently than most.  I want to reflect a little on my childhood.  Keep reading, though.  There is a point that brings it all back to teaching.  :)

I grew up in the golden age of the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  It was the most wonderful thing in the world to me.  You could have adventures, solve mysteries, and just have tons of fun.  It was great!

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Well…it was great for a while.

After a few years, it started to run a little slower.  Before too long, it started having trouble starting the games.  This happened to almost everyone I knew.  We had to blow into the games.  We had to find creative ways to slide the games in.  We had to hope against hope every time we pressed the power button.

Near the end of the life of the NES, you got to know the reset button very, very well.

Each time the game messed up, we pressed reset.

When the game froze up, we pressed reset.

Oh, and there is also the we-did-not-do-so-well-in-the-game times, and we pressed reset.

Reset.  Reset.  Reset.  It was the stand-by that we always went to.

Well, Teacher, you are more than a game system, but you, too get worn down.  You are tired.  You are mentally exhausted.  You are emotionally worn out.

Sometimes, the game messes up on you.  Sometime teaching “freezes” up on you.  Sometimes you are not just doing very well.  These are especially true this time of year and most definitely this year…it has been a rough one for almost every teacher I have talked to.

You need what we relied on with the NES…you need a reset.

Winter break is our reset button built into the year.

I really do think that is the main reason that we need it.  We all need a reset here at the almost school year half-time.

We need a break.  We need a refresh.  We need the hope of a fresh start in the year.

That is what you need.  Don’t forget it.

The holidays are great!  Take the time to reconnect with friends and family.  Do all of the fun, holiday things.  That is all a part of it.  Just do me a favor and don’t forget about you.

Take some down time.

Do something you love doing.

TAKE A BREAK!

Just be.

Refresh teacher.

Hit that reset button…what ever that looks like for you.

Teacher, I hope you have a tremendous break and happy holidays!  Just remember that you need to recharge.  Don’t forget to reset.

You are awesome!  I know that you will take some time for you.  You are doing a great job this year, even if it does not always feel that way.  You really are making a difference!  Reset and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher


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