Today I want to talk about Pete the Cat (a character in children’s books).
I teach sixth grade, and I know how this post will look to those who teach middle and high school. Just bare with me, though! I think the message is a good one. Please keep reading! 🙂
I have a four, almost five, year-old son. He is in 4k. I have been opened up to a whole new world. A world filled with play-learn stations, camp songs, and kids’ books. It has been a fun experience. I never thought it would be life changing.
Last week, I overheard my son being read to by his Nana. I wasn’t really paying attention until my son blurts out, “GOODNESS NO!” The way he said it cracked me up, so I listened in. It turned out to be a great little lesson for me, as a teacher (or human, for that matter). I read, reread, and read this book to my son since this, and we are often found saying, “Goodness no!” to each other throughout the day.
I thought it would be a great story to share, especially on Friday when most of us reflect on the week. Give a watch and listen, and the read on.
Did Pete cry? Goodness no!
I love that! I really do!
Okay, now that the story is over, what does this have to do with teaching?
We so very often get wrapped up in the “stuff” of teaching. Our lesson plans. Our classroom management. Our pacing. Our observations. Our teammate. Our administrators. Our classroom materials. Our pride in teaching. Our students’ test results. Our _______________…you fill in the rest.
When we get wrapped up in all of this and something goes wrong, it is so easy to fall into a “freak out” cycle. We may not cry, but our blood pressure rises. Our stress headaches start. Our patience flat-lines. We start to drop other things that matter because we lost something that has had an elevated priority for us. We slowly spiral out of control.
We can regain composure and get moving again. But then when something else goes awry, the cycle starts again. An easier way to say what the cycle is to say that we “cry.” Even if there is no tears.
This is, unfortunately, the norm for teachers. Talk to anyone for a while and you will see that we all have our “buttons” that make us “cry” when we lose them. We all have things that have become our focus that are important, don’t get me wrong, but still they are misplaced priorities. We have let ourselves lose focus (which is sounding like a theme for me here the last couple of weeks).
There are some teachers, though, that are more like Pete the Cat. Even-keeled. Stuff does not seem to bother them. AND they are reaching and teaching students like a champ.
What is their secret?
Do they “cry” when they lose their “buttons?”
They know that the classroom “stuff” will come and it will go.
They keep on singing their song.
And what is their song about?
I have said this a lot lately, but no matter how many times it is said it is never less true. Students are our goal. Who they are and what they need. This determines everything for us. They are who we are there for. They are more than “buttons.” They are the reason for teaching.
So, do we need to cry?
The other stuff will come and it will go.
The students are our song and we can keep on singing no matter what.
Simplistic? Easier said than lived out? Works on paper and hard in reality? Probably so. That does not mean it is not true. That does not mean it is not possible.
You can be “Pete the Cat.”
Keep on singing!
As you look back on the week, what buttons were lost? Do they matter in the grand scheme of things? Are you able to keep singing your student song?
You are awesome. You are Pete the Cat. Let those buttons go. They will come and they will go. Keep on singing, Teacher, and keep on teaching!