It’s the End of the Year (as we know it)


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DearTeacherLT2017 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

I have decided to return from the blogging dead…for a little while, at least. I am sorry that this year has gotten away from me. Because of the amount of creativity I use where I teach and work now, it is hard to find the time and energy to write something that I think will be worth your reading and that will encourage and inspire you.

So I want to try something else…

I want to use the summer to randomly put up other types of posts than just my normal pep talks. That doesn’t mean the pep talks are over, but the summer is a great chance to throw more into the mix and spice things up. I am going to use other sides of my creativity to try to make you laugh, cry, and, above all else, encourage your teaching soul. There will be stories, poetry, more doodle-type posts, and whatever else might come up.

All I ask is that you let me know what you think and give me a bit a feedback about what’s going on with you and how I can help keep your teacher fire burning. And if you like something, share it. ūüôā I know you will, because you rock!

So how did this year go for you, by the way? What worked? What didn’t? How are you going to recover from the year over the summer?

As always, I totally believe in you and know that you made a difference this year! You are an AMAZING teacher! Get some rest and relaxation in this summer! Remember to take time for yourself. Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…I am closing an attempt at impromptu poetry.

You Can’t Measure

I stare blindly at the list –
The yearly scavenger hunt
The things to do
The signatures to gather –
And the wonder creeps in…
Where did the year go?

I’m not sure it can be measured

I look around the room
I see it all from day one
I see the laughter, drama, and life
Most of all I see the growth
Students came in as babies
And left as young adults

I know that you can’t measure that

When the year started
I was full of life and ideas
It wasn’t long until that changed
And I was barely hanging on
The ups were high
The downs were low

And there is no measure in between

I was ready for the end
But then it came and I was not
It’s hard to let go
(Even the ones I wished would leave)
I saw them grow
I saw them blossom

They don’t make measurements for this

Now the only noise is me
And the student echoes have dimmed
I remember it all
The good and the bad
I would not trade any of it
And I will carry them with me

You definitely can’t measure that

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Dear Teacher – Be Kind to Yourself


DearTeacherLT2017 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

The year is almost over…and it has been a rough one. ¬†You tired. ¬†You are beat up. ¬†You are beat down. ¬†And you are not alone.

A lot of teachers, or dare I say – most teachers feel the way that you do.

Even though you know that you can not control most of the factors that go into making this a tough year, you can not help but feel responsible for it, or at least what has happened in your classroom

As you reflect on this school year, I want to make one request of you: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEEEEAASE BE KIND TO YOURSELF!

Despite how this year may have gone, you are a great teacher.  Be kind to yourself and know that.

No matter how you feel people think about you and your teaching performance, you have made a difference in the lives of your students.  Be kind to yourself and see that.

Even if test scores weren’t great and things seldom went as planned, you focused on your students and you have helped them grow as human people and learners. ¬†Be kind to yourself and believe that.

And, heaven forbid, you think you can’t go on one more year and you are not cut out for this teaching life anymore, you really can do this again, you are made for it, and your students need you! ¬†Take a deep breath, be kind to yourself, and acknowledge that you are a teacher through and through.

Good things did happen this year.  You did make a difference.  And you were (and ARE) a great teacher!

Please be kind to yourself and know that this is true.

Yes, please reflect and plan for needed changes next year, but also be kind and see all of the positive, too.

You are a great teacher!  You are making a difference!  Thank you for all that you are and do!  Keep on teaching, Teacher.  You ROCK!

Love, Teacher

It’s Not that Simple


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It’s Not that Simple

“You get a break,” they say
“Teaching is not so hard.”
“It must be nice to have time off.”
But it just is not that simple
It’s really not that easy

Nothing is that easy

Time and rest are not the same
Either are jobs and passions
Work can be more than just work
And time off means more too
Time can also be a little space

Teachers need room to breathe

Teaching is more than working
So much more than what we do
It is our life and our heart
It is our mind and instinct
Teaching’s in our blood

Teaching make us who we are

Our stress is not our stress
Our work is not our work
Our time is not our time
Our passions are not our passions
And our lives are not our lives

We live and work for more

No human can sustain this
No one can live only for others
No person can do this forever
The momentum can destroy
And the inertia can tear apart

One must come to a rest

Rest means space and room
Rest means time to breathe
Rest means remembering who we are
Time is recharging and returning
Time is finding ourselves again

We must be able to heal

So yes, it does seem nice
It looks like a little vacation
But it really is not that simple
It is more and it is vital
It is the only way we can keep going

Students need us to breathe

Teacher, YOU Have Got This!


Dear Teacher,

I have shared this image on Facebook before and you have probably seen it elsewhere, but I saw it this morning and want to share it here with you because I feel like this is one of the best (and funniest) metaphors for teaching.  It is our teaching life!

I share it with you today because I want to remind you of something…

YOU HAVE YOUR OWN FIRES TO DEAL WITH IN YOUR CLASSROOM (and life…but we are going to focus on the classroom part)!

You have got to stop worrying about what other teachers are doing, what your administration thinks of you, and how you look to others. ¬†You are uniquely wired for your classroom. ¬†You are the best at knowing what your students need. ¬†And you have skills, talents, and abilities that others don’t.

Be you.  Focus on your students.  Let those fires be the ones you are dealing with.

Everyone else can ride their own “fire bike.”

So what if your classroom is not the poster-perfect, Pinteresting classroom your teammate has.

So what if there is a chaos in your classroom that others don’t understand because you are trying to embrace something new like PBL.

So what if your students a little louder in the hall than some of the others because you decided to take stands with other behaviors.

So what if you have a wildly different teaching style and you constantly have to defend it.

SO WHAT?

You are perfect for your classroom.  You are perfect for your students.  You are perfect for your situation.

Know who you are and what you are good at and own it…and then get on that fire bike and ride like hell! ¬†(okay, sorry for using that word…but it feels like it fits so well with the analogy!)

You’ve got this, Teacher! ¬†Don’t worry about the others. ¬†Be you and who you need to be for your students!

Be confident in what you are good at. ¬†Work on the things that need work…sure. ¬†But be kind to yourself enough to acknowledge what you are great at and run with that. ¬†Let your awesomeness show to your students. ¬†No one else needs to have an opinion!

Be you.  Be awesome.  Ride your fire bike with your unique style!

Did I mention that you’ve got this?

Oh, and side note…realize that everyone else is riding their own fire bikes…cut them a little slack!

Anyway. ¬†Your fire bike is awesome. ¬†You are awesome. ¬†Be you and know you have what it takes to make a difference for your students…you already are! ¬†Keep riding that bike and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Teacher, You Didn’t Sign Up for This


Dear Teacher,

Once you were younger and you decided to become a teacher.  You took your classes.  You did your practicums.  You student-taught.  You took your Praxis tests.  You got certified and then started off your teacher life.

Yes, you were younger once.

Whether it was 20 years ago or just last August, you were younger and you just didn’t know all that comes with being a teacher.

You just didn’t know what it was like to manage a class on your own. ¬†And you didn’t realize you would not always be supported by administration for choices you are forced to make…or parents of students that would question your every move.

You just didn’t know what it would be like to keep up with planning deadlines, proving how everything aligns to standards, and making sure you have data-based evidence for everything you want to do… especially when it is for lessons that will change half-way through Monday because you are really great at monitoring and adjusting to the needs of your students.

You just didn’t know the struggles that some of your students would have. ¬†And you did not understand how so many of the things that they do, say, and don’t do or say can stem from what is happening at home…and how hard it is to balance keeping class running while dealing with those things…and the decisions you would be forced to make because of it.

You just didn’t know that people who have never been in a classroom like yours would cause you so much stress in and out of your classroom. ¬†And you didn’t understand how politics and bureaucracy would put up roadblocks and obstacles you do doing what is right for the sake of your students…forcing you to take a stand and fight battles that should not have to be fought.

You just didn’t know or ¬†not see how difficult it would be to focus on student learning because the measurable results would be more important to the powers-that-be than the actual growth of the learners from year to year. ¬†Standardized scores and data supersede what you know about students and what they need.

You just didn’t know. ¬†You were too young to know.

And you didn’t sign up for this.

You didn’t sign up work through this.

You didn’t sign up for the struggle to be the teacher you know you need to be.

You didn’t sign up for this…

But…you do what you do anyway.

You teach.  You face the realities of your classroom, the education system, and the world.  And you fight, you work, you teach.  And because of this, you are slowly making a difference.

You might not be changing the system or the world…but you are changing the system and the world of each individual student that you show up for each and every day. ¬†It is slow, but you are changing things for him, her, and them.

Everything that you didn’t sign up for is worth it.

Yes, it is not fair…but it is what you do. ¬†It is what you are wired for…it is what you are made for.

DearTeacherLT2017 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

DearTeacherLT2017 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Don’t give up hope! ¬†You are fighting a good fight. ¬†Keep fighting and keep on teaching, Teacher! ¬†This is what makes you awesome! ¬†You rock!

Love, Teacher

Getting Back on Your Teaching Feet…


Dear Teacher,

It has been a little while. ¬†Last you heard from me was a few weeks ago. ¬†I told you about my computer issues (which still aren’t over), but that is not the only reason. ¬†The other reason you haven’t heard much from me is because life is busy, difficult, and demanding. ¬†But that is not news for you – you are a teacher!

The holidays are usually fun and somewhat relaxing…but they also remind us that the teaching life is not easy. ¬†We are reminded of the other things in life that we neglect for the sake of our students (which is a noble act, don’t get me wrong). ¬†It is great to live our “normal life” for a couple of weeks! ¬†But then we have to get back to our other world, and that can be a difficult transition.

That is part of what has happened for me with the blog. ¬†I took a break because of the computer issues and the holidays…and it now has taken me a while to get back on my Dear Teacher feet. ¬†It is a time and energy commitment to blog here and try to say something to help your day better as a teacher. ¬†It is a sacrifice that I willingly make because you are worth it and deserve it, but it takes a while to get back into the swing of it. ¬†Today is my attempt. ¬†I am sorry if this is lackluster…but I am trying.

And that is the key for us after a break, bad day, or difficulties in or out of school…we just have to get on our feet and try.

We don’t need to worry about being awesome (though, you always are)…we just have to move and focus on our students. ¬†We don’t have to have the most amazing lesson. ¬†We don’t need to make amazing¬†Dead Poet’s Society inspirational speeches. ¬†We don’t have to add Pinterest-ing features to our classrooms. ¬†We don’t even have to be completely “all there” yet. ¬†We just need to be there and make an attempt. ¬†The more we try to do the things we know are important, the more that we start being the amazing selves that we are.

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

This is what it takes to make a difference for our students and change their futures.

All it takes is you being you and being there trying.  Day in and day out.  Some days will be great.  Some days will be the opposite.  And most days will just be somewhere in the middle.  But it the sum of these days that matter.  You just have to get up, get going, and try.

What is great about you is that you know this, and you do this.

This is why you are AWESOME and you are making a difference.

Please know that even when you don’t hear from me, I truly believe in you and am always in your corner. ¬†You are amazing and you totally rock! ¬†Thanks for all you do and keep on teaching, Teacher!

 

 

Teacher Holiday Hits Album: Unplugged (no actual music will be harmed in this post)


Dear Teacher,

Okay, this isn’t really about music.  Sorry!  For most of us a break is here or quickly approaching.  It is time to step back, if just for a while, from your teaching life.

I hope you find the space to unplug and reconnect to the people and other things in your life that you love along side teaching.  Oh, and don’t say you’ll do this and let time slip away.  Really do it.  

Unplug.  Reconnect.  Restart.

You know, do for yourself what you have to do for your computer when you have an amazing technology-based lesson and everything goes wrong when admin chooses to come observe.  ūüôā

Please take time for yourself, be kind to yourself, and take care of yourself.

I truly wish you a wonderful break and happy holidays, however you may or may not celebrate.  As for me, I leave you with Merry Christmas… because that’s my jam!

You are awesome.  You are amazing.  You ROCK!  Thanks for ever little thing you do!  You are a great teacher!

Love, Teacher