Posted in Choose Positive, General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Pep Talk, Theme Song

Wake Up Everybody (teachers and students, too)


Dear Teacher,

I know, since most of you that read my blog are from the US, are headed for an extended break this week.  I have been pondering about what I should write about at the start of a week like this.  Do I do a full message on a short week?  What should I talk about?  What do I need to hear?  What do you need to hear?

I think I know.

But first, it is Monday, so you know what to do.  This post has a theme song and it is your theme song for the week.  I am sure that I have heard this song before, but it was fresh to me this morning as I looked for a song that went with the theme for this morning.  I like it.  I am glad to have this song in my head this week and I hope you will be, too.

So, what do I think we teachers need to hear about this week?

What is a message that we need to hear about on this week when we think about what we are thankful for?

What do teachers need this week?

Hope.

Hope.

Hope.

Hope

Hope is a state of mind.  Hope is an expectation of a positive future something (event, change, etc.).  Hope is an outlook on the world that changes our perspective on what is happening.  Hope is a contagious catalyst for emotions that drive us from negative to positive thoughts and actions.

Hope changes us.  Hope makes us stronger.  Hope makes us work harder.  Hope lets us persevere through the difficulties and stress we go through until our hope is realized and materialized on the other side of obstacles.

What is hope for a teacher?

Students are our hope.  We can not lose them as the focus of what we do.  We teach because we want to see a change in students.  We want them to become productive adults one day.  We want them to learn and learn on their own.  We want to see them become the leaders of tomorrow.  We want them, in essence, to change the future and what we are experiencing now.

Students are our hope.

Because students are our hope, we can get through anything.  All of the little things that we have to go through and put up with are nothing when we remember that we are doing what we do for the sake of students.  When we have to pick and chose what can actually be done of the millions of expectations that are put on us, when we prioritize, we remember this hope and make our choices based on this, on them, on our students.

When we plan, we think of what we are planning for.  When we grade, we think of what we are grading for.  When we go to meetings, we think about what those meetings are for.  When we go to PD, when we read, when we _______________ (you fill in the blank), we remember what all of these things are for.

The “what” that these things are for is really a “who.”  It is for our students.  It is for their future.  They are the hope we need.

When you have a bad day…remember your hope.  When your students are not doing what you planned…remember your hope.  When that one student gets on your last nerve…remember your hope.  When your fellow teachers make things difficult for you…remember your hope.  When your administration seems to add stress after stress…remember you hope.  When you feel like you are on the edge of burnout and just can’t go on any more…remember your hope.

Remember your hope.

Your hope is your students.

Remember your hope this week.

I know that it is a shorter week, but do not lose sight of that.  It is still time that you have with your students.  It is still time to teach them.  It is still time to influence them.  It is still time to make a difference.

Students are your hope.

As you remember what you are thankful for, remember to be thankful for your hope.  Be thankful for the reason that you are a teacher.  Be thankful for the very purpose that you get up each and every day and muddle through all that you have to go through.  Be thankful for the hope of the future.  Be thankful for your students!

I would like to add, that you, Teacher, are a part of my hope.  You going on gives me hope.  You getting through the tough parts of what we do gives me hope.  You teaching your heart out gives me hope.  You not giving up your hope gives me hope.

Thank you for being my hope.  I am thankful for you!

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use this picture if you link back to my blog.)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use this picture if you link back to my blog.)

You are awesome!  You are amazing!  You have a hope that keeps you going.  Don’t forget that hope!  You are making a difference!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

 

Posted in Choose Positive, General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, You Are Awesome!!!

The Final Countdown [to the new school year]


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the picture if you link back to this blog.)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the picture if you link back to this blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher.)

Dear Teacher,

I am not sure where you are in your summer break or school year, but for me it is the last day of summer.  Tomorrow is the first day back for teachers.  The countdown is on!  Summer is over and it is time to start remember what day it is again (stole that one from a post I saw on Facebook).

Weekly theme song time, so click play and keep reading.  This is a silly version of the song, but it still works!

This is it.  You have rested.  You have planned…maybe.  You have had some summer PD.

Last year is officially “in the bag,” and the new one is about to begin.  Are you ready?  Your students are almost to your classroom door.  They are waiting for you.  Are you waiting for them?

Teacher, this year could be the best year ever.  Make it the best year ever!  No matter what has happened in the past, this year can and will be different.  Make it that way.  You can.  You are awesome.  You can do it!  You just have to be brave enough to do whatever it takes to make that happen…and you can!

So, what do you need to do with the minutes ticking off of the clock?

Get your mind ready.  Take a look in the mirror.  No finger pointing at anyone besides yourself, what do you need to change about you?  What things can you do different with your students?  How can you build relationships better?  How can you deal with stress better?  How can you plan more efficiently?  How can you communicate with parents better?  How can you change in how you interact with fellow teachers and administration?

Get your heart ready.  Take a look in that mirror and only point at yourself again, what do you need to fix?  What fences do you need to mend?  What bridges need fires put out?  Who do you need to forgive and/or as forgiveness from at your school?  You need to work with who you work with for the sake of the students.  You need to make it work.  What do you need to do to make things work?  Do you need to forgive yourself?  Do you need to move on from the past and just let some things go?  Do it.  It will be worth it to have the best year ever!

Get your spirit ready.  Take one more look in that mirror with your fingers ready to point, what do you need to be excited for the coming year?  Do you need to just let go of curricular hang-ups?  Do you need to forget your worries about expectations from others?  Do you need to erase your bad experiences with students from years past and just assume this year will be better?  It will be better.  Get excited!  You have the best job ever!  You are about to have students that you have never taught before!  They don’t know your past!  You get to start over!  Start over!  Find something to be excited about and BE EXCITED!

This is the final countdown to the best year ever!  Get excited!  Expect the best!  Let go of the past and just find ways to make this the year of your teaching dreams!  It can be, no matter your circumstances.  Make it that way!

You are awesome!  I wish you the most awesome-est year you have ever had!  Make this year as awesome as you are!  Keep dreaming and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Choose Positive, Hope for Teachers, You Are Awesome!!!

Celebrate the Small Stuff!


Feel free to us this picture, but please link it back to this blog.
Feel free to us this picture, but please link it back to this blog.

Dear Teacher,

We, as teachers, are really, really, REALLY good at one thing…sweating the “small stuff”.  It is in our natures.  It is who we are.  It is a job requirement.  There are countless details, issues, and expectations that we juggle and balance ever second of every school day.  It is a part of the job, and we know this.  We take the “small stuff” seriously!  Sometimes, though, all of the little things overwhelm us and fall on us like a land slide…or at least this happens to me.

It has hit me recently, that I need to work against that happening.  I need something in place to keep that avalanche from overtaking me.  I need a retaining wall to keep my mountain of “small stuff” at bay so that it does not collapse and smother me!  And I accidentally found a way to do this…ironically, it involves using the little things to my advantage.

A stone or brick retaining wall can hold back a lot of dirt and sediments.  These walls support a hill so that it does not erode and fall apart.  The stones or bricks are stacked in a way that retain what ever is behind them…thus the name retaining wall.  🙂    However, one or a couple of bricks/stones do not do the job.  It takes a lot to have a wall.  Compared to the hill, one brick is small.  But an army of bricks can tame that hill and hold it back.

We need a retaining wall to hold back our millions of small things so that we can survive each day, especially when those things are teetering on the brink of falling down on us.  How do we do this?  We take some of our small things and build that wall that we need.  We need to celebrate the “small stuff”!!  We need to reflect and find the small things that we have succeeded will and have a mini-party and remember them throughout the day.  We need to bind a bunch of these together, see that we are making progress, and use them as motivation to keep chugging away and moving over our mountains of little things.

What can you celebrate today?

  • Find something in each of your students, or a difficult handful, that you can look at and see growth…and then tell them that you are proud of them for it.
  • Look at your to do list and be happy about the few things that you have gotten to-done.
  • Ask a colleague to tell you something that they see in you that is going well, and offer the same feedback to him or her.
  • Fix one thing you can fix today, fix it, and then let yourself smile about it.
  • Reflect and find one or two things you can be really proud of yourself for right now, and let yourself be proud…don’t let humble yourself out of a celebration.

These are just a few suggestions, can you think of more?  Please share if you come up with some cool things that me and other teachers can look to and celebrate so that we can all start building our walls!

I will practice what I preach right now.  Let me celebrate some of the “small stuff” about this blog that has happened in the three weeks since I have started:

  • There have been almost 8000 views in these three weeks!
  • Last Friday, there was almost 1000 views to the blog in one day!
  • The Homepage/Archives have been viewed over 1000 times!
  • Last Friday’s post, Friday of Awesomeness!,  had over 500 views, and most of them were that day!
  • There are 41 blog followers and 26 Twitter followers!
  • The blog and blog posts have been shared over 100 times!
  • One of my Tweets was favorited by @iamkidpresident.
  • There is now a Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Facebook Page.

I need to let myself feel good about these achievements!  And I need to thank you for making them happen.  Thank you, Teacher!  You are awesome!

Now, it is your turn!  Start celebrating your “small stuff” and build your wall!  I know you have a lot to celebrate because you are a great teacher, and you are AWESOME!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Oh yeah, do not forget to do your homework!

I will close with a video of a science teacher having a personal dance party…watch and enjoy…it is funny and fun even if you don’t teach science!

Love, Teacher

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

Posted in Choose Positive, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers

Running on Empty


(c)DearTeacherLT2013
(c)DearTeacherLT2013

Dear Teacher,

How are you feeling?  Are you ready for this week?  If you are not on summer break yet, you are probably just coming off of a long weekend.  Are you ready for this week?  Are you rested and ready to go?  Are you prepared to meet this week head-on?

Several months ago, after a trip to the grocery store, I was looking at our refrigerator.  It is a wonderful feeling to have your cupboards and fridge stocked.  You know that you have enough food to last a while.  There is security and comfort in that.  You do not have to worry about having something to eat, at least not right now.  You are full and so is your kitchen.  It feels pretty good.

It does not take long for that to change.  You go back to the fridge, there is a lot less.  You look in the cabinents, and it is harder to find what you might want.  Supplies are becoming more limited.  You have food, but just not as much.  The securtiy and comfort there had decreased.

Then comes the point at which you go to get something, and there is not much left at all.  The fridge and cupboards are almost empty.  You look for what you are craving, but it is not there.  You make due with what you have, but it is by far not what you want.  Your rations are sparce.  The security and comfort is almost gone.  It is time to go back to the store and stock up all over again.  Your house is running on empty, and it is time for a fill-up.

This is the same way with our energy, enthusiasm, and excitement about teaching.  Sometimes we are full.  Sometimes we are empty.  And most of the time we are somewhere in between.

The full times are wonderful.  We are brimming to the top with ideas, patience, and love for our students.  Going the extra mile is easy becuase we have extra to give.  We are a full refrigerator ready to give out food and drink that fills other people up and gives them what they need to live and be vibrant, too.  We are roaring and ready to go.  We do not need a pep talk, we are the pep talk.  Maybe you are there right now, especially after a long weekend.  Ride out this high and enjoy it, Teacher!  Memories of these times are often what help us get though the low times.  Do good in your fullness and remember it well!

The empty times are awful.  They are, for the most part, the opposite of the full times.  You have nothing to give.  You are tired.  Patience is out of the window.  Excitement left a long time ago.  You are on the edge of burn-out or already fallen off of that cliff in to the abyss of teacher exhaustion.  You have nothing left in your tank, yet you have to keep on giving.  You are the scene in the inspirational education movie (e.i…Stand and Deliver) where the protagonist is ready to give up and call it quits.  You don’t know if you can keep doing this.  At least not this year.  Maybe you are there.  We have all been there.  Some of us get there once a school year. Teacher, don’t give up!  You can make it!  You ARE awesome and you ARE making a difference!

Then there are the highs and lows in the middle of these extremes.  You are up.  You are down.  You are all around.  We spend most of our time somewhere in the middle.  You are probably here right now.  Some days are better than others.  You get close to the top or close to the bottom, but you keep leveling out.  This is not a bad place to be.  This is where we pace ourselves as teachers.  Teaching is most definitely a marathon and not a sprint.  Keep pressing on, Teacher.

No matter where you are, remember why you are a teacher.  To make a difference in the lives of your students, both for now and their future.  If you are full, enjoy that awesome time of fullness!  If you are empty, remember you full times and find one or two students that you can focus the remaining energy on.  If you are somewhere in the middle…trudge through and press on.  Pace yourself and focus your energy where it will do the most good.  You can’t do everything!

Also, remember you students are people, too.  They are either empty, full, or somewhere in between, just like you.  You may or may not know what they have going on at home.  Try to work with them and be understanding.  Use your knowledge of them to judge whether or not you think they may be at an empty time.  If they are, use what you have to fill them up.  Teach them how to know and how to ask for help.  You are their model, and you are their grocery store.  Keep your students as full as you can!

Oh, and look out for your colleagues.  Help them through the empty times.  Glean off of them in their full times.  You are all in this together!

Teacher, thanks for reading this long post!  You are awesome!  I hope this gives you some hope and encouragement!  Pass this on to someone you think needs it the most.

You are a great and wonderful teacher, in full times and empty times.  Do what you do best!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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

Posted in Challenge, Choose Positive, Hope for Teachers

The Choice


Dear Teacher,

Last night, someone shared the Positive Teacher Pledge on an Edmodo.  This really spoke to me.  I know that I need to strive to be more positive in my classroom.  There are times that we all get lured to the dark side of negativity, if we are honest with ourselves.  Though, I have seldom thought about the choice between being positive and being negative.  It is a choice, however!

Every day, every hour, every second, we make a choice between giving into the stress that weighs us down on teachers and acting out of stress or in the opposite direction of the stress.  Often times, at least for me, I let the stress make the choice and it is usually in the negative direction.  I need (we need) capture every second of the day with our students!  We don’t have many seconds with them, in the span of their lives, so we need to make each one count!  We can’t afford to have many “bad seconds” with our students.  We are setting them up for the rest of their lives!  We have to take that seriously.

Today, will you…

  • Let your exhaustion show or be upbeat (or at least pretend to be energetic)?
  • Let that crummy email or phone call show or save your frustration for later and say something nice to a student who needs it?
  • Complain about a coworker or do something to encourage him or her?
  • Gripe about administration or ask them if there is anything you can do to help them today?
  • Get irritated with a student who is driving you insane or pull him or her aside, say something positive, and give a reason to do better today?

The list could go on forever, but I think you get it.  Lets try to make positive choices today!  We are worn out, beat up, and empty…but we have to keep moving.  You can do it, Teacher!  You can be positive today!  You are awesome!  I believe in you so much!

Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

For more hope and encouragement: @DearTeacherLT