Posted in Challenge, Change the World Challenge, Choose Positive, General Inspiration, Hope For Students, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers

Sometimes it only takes one…


Dear Teacher,

We all have good days.  We all have bad days.  Most of the time the days are somewhere in between.

The worst, though, are the days that are great…until…that one student.  That one attitude.  That one event.  And the apple cart is overturned.

We don’t like to talk about it, but we all know that it happens.  One student, one administrator, one parent, or one situation…and our day turns south quickly.

Good days become bad days.  Mediocre days become awful days.  And bad days become the worst day ever.

Our attitudes are soured.  Our teaching becomes less effective.  We stop wanting to deal with people altogether.  And it only takes one thing to cause this.

Admit it, you know what I am talking about.

It is human nature.  It happens.  We deal with it.  We struggle to get better at not letting it happen the next time.  We do get better the longer we teach…but it still happens sometimes.

I don’t have a solution here…but I want to use this as a jumping off point.  One negative thing can turn our days negative.

Our students are people just like us.  And, like us, sometimes it only takes one thing to change their day.

Sometimes it only takes one…

  • smile to make a bad day into a better day.
  • kind word to make a mediocre day a good day
  • little time and attention to make a good day a great day.

One bad thing can make a day worse, but sometimes it only takes a good thing to make a day better.

We have no idea what our students experience from day to day.  We don’t really know what is going on at home.  We don’t know what happened on the bus.  We don’t know what they are always feeling.  We can’t control this.

However, we can control the experience we give our kids from us.

I am not talking about every thing in our classroom right now, I am just talking about trying to do one thing.  One positive for every student you can get one to.  Who knows if that one thing can be a catalyst to brightening up their day!

If you are elementary, try to reach each student in you class with a few positives today.  If you are middle or high school, try to reach each student with a couple of positives over a few days…and then start to cycle again.

It is hard some days…but you can do it.  I can do it.  We can be those “ones” that turn a day around (in a good way).

I know you can do it!  Are you willing to take the challenge?

Elbert Hubbard Quote

You are so awesome!  I know that you try to be positive every day…so keep going.  Try to give as many “ones” as you can today.  The more seed that you plant, the more is likely to grow.  Keep up those positives and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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Posted in Change the World Challenge, General Inspiration, Pep Talk

Waitin’ on the World to Change


(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,

Last Friday, I accidentally kicked off a theme that carried through for a week.  The challenge of changing the world.  When I wrote it, i did not know that it would resonate with people so much…one of those people being me.  It has stuck with me this week.  The idea that we, especially we teachers, can change the world is a powerful idea.  Not only is it powerful, it is true.

Anyone person can change the world.  Teachers have a chance to multiply their change almost exponentially…only the change is done person-to-person and one student at a time.  You, me, and every other teacher needs to realize this.  It is really what we do.  It is a part of the job,  It is really part of the focus of what we do.  We influence students.  We help them to learn, think, and stand on their own.

Students’ personal change while they are in our class, that change that will allow them to face a world that does not yet exist, is the goal.  The content is not the goal..though it is the medium through which we teach the skills they need for the world ahead of them…it is the means to the end, not the end itself.  We are planting seeds for the future, and the subject and details we teach are just the outer layer of the seed.

Students.  They are our “clients.”  They are who we work for.  They are the concentration area of our job.  They are the center of the plans we make for what we do.  They are the end goal of our work.  They are the work we do.  Pure and simple.  Students are the change the world needs.  We help them learn to be that change.  Period.  The end.  Students.

So…we change the world by focusing on students.

Now what?

The hardest part.  We wait.  We wait for the world to change.  We wait for the seeds to grow.  We wait for the plant to mature.  We wait for the adult plant to spread seeds of its own.  It is the life cycle of plants.  It is the life cycle of teaching.  It is the life cycle of world change.

It is more than waiting though.  When I say that we wait on the world to change, I am not talking about waiting like in the John Mayer song.  It is not sitting back and waiting for something to happen.  It is not waiting for the world to change itself.  We, as teachers, don’t wait that way…and we should teach our students not to wait that way.

We proactively wait.  We keep digging.  We keep planting more seeds.  We keep working on changing the world.  We influence more and more people.  We connect with more and more students (especially the difficult ones).  We keep on going day after day after day.  We never give up trying until start seeing some change in some way every where we look.

We work to cause the conditions of change.  We wait for change.  While we wait, we cause more conditions for change.  We wait.  While we wait, we…well, you get my drift here.  We keep going.

The world WILL change.  You are a part of it.  To quote from the Kid President song I shared last week, “The world can be better, and you’ll be the cause.”  Change is coming.  We just have to work and wait….and “keep going, keep going, keep going.”

(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 an agent of change for AWESOME…because you are awesome.  Keep going.  Just because you don’t see change, it doesn’t mean that it is not happening.  You are doing what it takes!  Keep doing what you do, you amazing teacher, you!  Keep going.  Keep on teaching, Teacher!  Oh, and keep going (did I mention that?)!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Challenge, Change the World Challenge, Reason for Teaching

The Speed of Change…One by One


Dear Teacher,

Okay, I found some time to write a post.  I like writing posts more than just doing a picture message like the one I did this morning…though they are fun to do.  I did not think I would find the time to write, but I finally did.  And I found some really cool inspiration that goes right along with my theme this week!  We, you and I, need to change the world.  Teachers can do it.  We need to!

I was reading through some blogs this afternoon, and I came across this message of connecting with students.  It was so perfect.  This teacher’s message went hand-in-hand with my challenge from last Friday.  I gave us all the challenge, myself included here, to change the world by changing our own world, changing students’ worlds, changing other teachers’ worlds, and changing the worlds of those around us, outside of schools.  (How have you been doing with this, by the way?)  The blog post I read today hit one of these nails right on the head.  To change the lives of students we have got to connect with them!

I know what you are thinking…”Duh!  Everyone knows that!”

We do…but do we really?  Really, really?  Really, really, really?

Our actions show what we truly know…or at least believe.

We might know that we need to connect to students, but if someone were to really judge us by our actions would they think that we really and truly believe that it is vital to connect with students?

Take that honest look in the mirror.  What is the answer to that question?  And I am not talking connecting with some students.  I mean trying to have a connection with every student you teach, at least on some teeny, tiny level?

Is that even possible?  To connect with every student?

I think so.  But it is hard work.  You have to be purposeful.  You have to try…every day.  Find a way to connect.  Find a way to build rapport.  Find a way to earn a voice.  Once you have that voice with a student, USE IT!

Talk to your students.  Tell them the truth.  Help them to know what they need to work on.  Tell them how smart they are.  Teach them how to use that smart.  Help them use it.  Help them build confidence until they act like they know they are smart and capable.

Change your students’ world:

  • Connect
  • Build a Bridge
  • Cross that Bridge
  • Change a Mind
  • Change a Life
  • Change the World
(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 can do it.  You can connect with every student.  You can be an agent of change.  You can make a difference that lasts a lifetime.  Know you can do this.  Act on that knowledge.  Start tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this).

Challenge for Today (whenever you read this): Make a purposeful connection with three students today.  You can do it!  Will you?

You are so amazing!  You are so awesome!  Do it…change the world by changing your students’s world.  The speed of change is slow because it is done one person at a time.  Start making those changes now!  You can do it!  Keep on teaching and changing the world, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Challenge, Change the World Challenge, General Inspiration, Pep Talk

Change the World


Dear Teacher,

Last Friday, I gave you a (seemingly) impossible mission.  I asked you to change the world.  I have to say, I was overwhelmed by the response.  The idea really seemed to connect to people.  I know that it really connected to me.  I have been thinking a lot about the idea of what it takes to change the world and how I can do so as “just one teacher.”

For this reason, the weekly theme song (and theme for the week) is going to build on the post from Friday.  This week is going to be all about changing the world.  Are you going to ride along with me and help me spark some change?  Click play and then read on!

The world is a mess.  I think we all feel it.  Even the most optimistic among us have to admit that there is a lot wrong with the world at-large.  We know it is that way.  We know it, and our students know it.

Some of us, though, those optimistic ones I mentioned, don’t see the world as static.  It is dynamic.  It can change.  Pardon my nerdy-ness for a moment, but we at Earth’s surface are moving at over 1000 miles per hour as the planet rotates on its axis.  We are moving fast, this should remind us that the world does not stand still.  It is moving, it is changing, and the society world can move and change just as quickly.

So, the world can change.

If it can change, let’s change it.

Simple, right?

Maybe.

What would we do if we could change it?  Or what would we do if we could change our own little corner of it?  What would we want it to be like?  What changes would we like to see?

I think this would be debatable…thus politics and politicians.  There are so many differing opinions on what the world should be like.  Some religions are built around thoughts on what the world should “change” to be like.  This one of the hard parts of change.  Opinions and beliefs.

I think there is one area of agreement, for the most part, across the board.  We all wish the world was better.  We wish it were nicer.  We wish it were more encouraging.  It boils down to one thing…

Kindness.

We all wish the world, and everyone in it, were kinder.  Kindness is the key.  Kindness is the change that most people could come to a consensus upon.  Kindness is change that most of us can agree on.

There is something cool about this.  Kindness is the easiest change to bring.  Kindness is a change that spreads.  Kindness can be like a virus that goes from one person to the next.  The change that is kindness can start with one person.  Kindness is the kind of change that can start with you.

To start a revolution of kindness is simple.  Be kind.  I am not talking polite, well-mannered, or moral.  I mean kind.  Kindness that can only come from the heart.  It has to be genuine and true.  It has to not care about who it is aimed at.  Kindness is not “payback” for kindness shown.  Kindness is given freely and to everyone.  It is given especially to those who are not kind to you.

What kind of kindness changes the world?  How can you do it?

Show kindness to EVERYONE around you.  Do small things.  Say “hello” to everyone you see.  “Good morning.  How are you?” are two powerful phrases.  High-fives and smiles can change a person’s day, and they, in turn, will help change the day for others.  “Good job.”  “I like your shoes.”   “You are awesome.”  These are just words, but they are powerful words of kindness…doubly so when they are random and barely deserved.

Kindness is a feeling that is passed through action.  Kindness makes you want to be kind to others.  Kindness changes your perspective.  Kindness wants you to do better and be better.  Kindness is an agent of change, and we so often forget it.

So…you want to change the world?  Be kind.  Let kindness be the world that people think of when they think of you.  Let there be a drop of kindness in each of your footprints each and every day.

(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)

Your kindness will change people’s world.  They will be kind and change the world of others.  Those people will turn and do the same.  Before you know it, you (one person) have change the world!

So, how do you feel about this, Teacher?  I know that you do little acts of kindness every day.  You are a teacher, it comes with the job.  Can you be more intentional about it, though.  Can you be purposefully kind today, tomorrow, and from now on?

Today’s Change-the-World Challenge:  Give 50 high-fives.

Can you do that?  Let me add to it to make it a little harder…half, 25, of these have to be random and undeserved.  Oh, and make at least ten with an adult and not student.  Can you do this today?  I know that it sounds a little crazy, but I think you will see it causes a change in you as you try to do this, and I think you will see quite a reaction in others.  Want to give it a shot?

I hope you have a great day and great week.  You are so awesome!  You are changing the world!  You are an amazing teacher!  Keep on teaching and changing the world, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS… The “Kindness” poster/graphic is available as a part of a set of printable posters that is available to buy.  I know I keep talking about it, but I am so excited about these posters and how they can motivate students (intrinsically) to keep moving and pressing on!  The Motivational ABCs Poster/Word Wall are available in the Dear Teacher/Love Teacher TeachersPayTeachers Store…check it out, if you haven’t had the chance!  The image in this post is one of the printable posters in the set.  Oh, and the posters are on a deep discount sale this week!  You have $2 to motivate students, don’t you?  🙂