Posted in General Inspiration, Guest Post, Pep Talk

Just Keep Moving (in the right direction)

Dear Teacher,

When I asked people to volunteer to be Substitute Teachers while I am “off the grid,” I had a lot of great responses!  I am so grateful and honored by that!  Teachers were more than willing to pay forward the encouragement and hope that they have received from people and from this blog.  However, something interesting came from the request to for people to share, and it was a response to something that I have done with this blog that I did not think people noticed or cared about, but they did and do (you might, too).

I have made strides to try to keep this as anonymous as possible.  Why?  I want the message here to be separated from it being just a person trying to encourage other people.  I want it to be about teachers encouraging teachers.  We are in this together, and it is not about a person or personality.  This is one of the reasons I am using Substitute Teachers instead of just setting up a bunch of my own posts to go up while I am away.  This is teachers encouraging each other.  Teachers looking out and caring for their own!

I say all of this because some of the Substitutes have requested to stay anonymous, like me.  Their reasons are the same as mine.  I appreciate that, so I am honoring the request.  I will only share what I think is important about each…and today’s Sub has one thing I would like you to know about her.  She has been teaching for 26 years!  I am honored to have such a veteran post here!  We can learn so much from those teachers who have been doing this for a long time!  I love learning from people who have been doing this for a long time.  Read this morning and learn with me.  🙂

Dear Teacher,

I subscribe to Gretchen Rubin’s* Happiness Project blog and her “Moment of Happiness” daily e-mails.  Recently, this Oliver Wendell Holmes quote was the thought of the day:

“The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

This quote reminded me of some experiences I’ve had in teaching.  Often at the end of the year I can be discouraged or disappointed by all of the things that didn’t go as well as I’d have liked, or all the ways that I wasn’t as great a teacher as I’d have liked to have been for my students.  We teachers want so much to do awesome things for all of our students, but that task can sometimes be impossible to fully achieve.

Then I remind myself that no one is perfect, and that the important thing is wanting to be awesome and being committed to always getting better, becoming a stronger and more effective teacher. After my first, most difficult year as a teacher, I promised myself that I would always work to get better each year, and that as long as I kept that commitment, I would just have to be accept the fact that I hadn’t been the perfect teacher. As Holmes reminds us, it’s the direction we’re moving that is most important.

One of the best things about teaching is that every year there is a fresh start and a new chance to be even better and more awesome for a new group of students.  Summer is a great time for thinking about ways to hone our skills. What great ideas would you like to put in place with your next group of students?

You are awesome, Teacher.  You are committed to improving your professional practice, and that’s awesome!  High five!

Love, Substitute Teacher

** Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home.

For more hope and encouragement: @DearTeacherLT (Twitter) and Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Facebook Page.



I am a middle school teacher who lives in the upstate of South Carolina.

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