Past Halfway


Dear Teacher,

I am not sure where you are in your school year, but if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you are probably past halfway.  For me, I am in the last quarter of the year.  Getting towards the end.

I find that this part of the year can be the hardest.

I am tired.

I am stressed.

I have state testing coming.

The students are getting spring and summer fever.

I have lost most of the excitement of the year.

Everything starts feeling stale.

I think I go through this every year at this point.

I think this year can be different.  I think.

I can choose to feel differently.
I do not have to feel like the year is getting old.  I do not have to be stressed.  I can manage and prioritize so I don’t feel so tired.  I can look for the excitement that I had earlier in the year.

I can choose to act differently.
Einstein said something to the effect that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different result.  I need to do things differently than I have in the past this time of year.  I need to find a way to build excitement in me and the students.  I need to move them towards state tests without it feeling like a grind.  I need to remember what worked earlier in the year and get back to those things.  I can do this.  I will do this.

I can choose to focus differently.

What if I changed gears to confidence building  instead of focus on the end-of-year, pre-state-test push?   I don’t mean hearts, rainbows, and feelings circles kind of confidence building, but content based confidence building.  I can scaffold those that need it to feeling like they really have learned some of what they need to…they have learned, even if not completely to the level I need them yet.  Confidence breeds confidence.  Maybe if I build momentum I can get them over the hills they are getting stuck on.  The same for my kiddos that fall towards the middle.  With my higher students, I can challenge them move past my content into higher levels of thinking.  Make them feel and know that they will blow the state tests away.  Confidence.  What if I changed to that?
I can choose to be different.

I can do the things above.  I can change the way I do things.  I can do this.  I will do this!

I can change.  I will change.

What about you?  Are you feeling the Past-Halfway-Grind?  Can you make some adjustments?  Can you change?  Can you refocus?  Can you be different?

Einstein

You are awesome, so maybe you don’t feel this way at the end of the year.  If you do, though, you are amazing enough to make those changes.  You know your students need you to, so you will do the work to get it done.  You make a difference every day.  I believe you can make this year different.  I know you will make it better.  You can do this!  You are a teacher!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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Big City Monday


Dear Teacher,

It is Monday.  The start of a new week.  It is a fresh beginning.  You have arrived at the dawning of something that has never been before…this week.

Sometimes a new week of teaching can feel like coming to a big city for the first time.  It is overwhelming.  You know about the city and know where you need to go, but stepping on to the sidewalk can make you have to catch your breath at first.  It is big.  It is here.  It is real.  You have never navigated these streets before, and now you are here walking them.  It can be a bit much, but you keep walking.  You keep going.  You find your way.  You make it through.  You make it possible for yourself to get better and learn the places you need to go.  You press on until it is not a big deal anymore.

A new week can be very similar.  You know what is coming up.  You know some of what to expect from the week.  You also know that there are new challenges that await that you haven’t been made aware of yet.  If it is a big week, like state testing or something of that sort, it is even more daunting.  You go over in your head what you need to do, where you need your students to get to, and all that you have to get done.  Now it is Monday morning, and you are about to step into those streets.  You have to brace yourself and make yourself keep walking.

Deep breath, Teacher.  You’ve got this.  Step out.  Keep going.

You greet the week with all that you have.  You have done this before.  You have conquered other “big city” weeks.  This one will be no different.  You will do what you need to do.  You will get your students where they need to be.  You will take everything in stride and keep walking.  You will keep going.  You will survive.

This week has nothing on you.

Nothing.

Big cities are awesome.  Weeks can seem awesomely daunting.  But you are awesome-er.  Your awesome is bigger than the biggest city and the most difficult weeks.

You’ve got this.

Step out.

Keep walking.

(c) DearTeacherLT2013  You may use this image only if you link back to this blog and give credit to this blog.  This note will be available soon at the Dear Teacher TpT Store.  Find notes like this one by following the link.

(c) DearTeacherLT2013 You may use this image only if you link back to this blog and give credit to this blog. This note will be available soon at the Dear Teacher TpT Store. Find notes like this one by following the link.

You are awesome, for real!  You are amazing because you do keep going.  You know what your students need and you get them to succeed.  You are making a difference.  Keep walking and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher


An Infographic Note from your Students


Dear Teacher,

If your students could make you an infographic note of your influence and the difference that you make, I think it would look a lot like this.

(c)DearTeacherLT2014 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

(c)DearTeacherLT2014 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

I hope that you realize how much you mean to your students, even though they can’t tell you yet.  You may never know your true effect, but you are changing lives and futures.  Keep fighting.  Keep going.  Keep teaching!

You are so so awesome!  Please remember that you are today.  When the going gets tough, awesome is still awesome…and you are awesome!  Keep on teaching, you amazing Teacher!   Oh, and share this with another teacher that you think could use this message today.  Pass on the encouragement!

Love, Teacher

PS…I am working on a better format of the picture.  This is the best I could do this morning because of scanner issues.  Sorry!


Fed Back and Tested (get back up, Teacher)


Dear Teacher,

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?

I have shared this quote before, but I love it and am going to share it again.  It is from Jaime Escalante, the teacher the move Stand and Deliver was about (I wrote about him here).  He said this:

“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!

Love, Teacher

From venspired.com (shared by Edutopia).


Two Wonderful Minutes


Dear 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!

Love, Teacher


Quick Note


(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,

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!

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!

Love, Teacher


Added Dramatic Humor Daily (ADHD)


ADHD Symptoms

Dear 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!

Love, Teacher


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