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!
Breaks from teaching 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.
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!
It’s been a while. I am sorry about that. I have been busy…teacher busy. You know, no time for the extras in life. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but being a teacher is exhausting!
So much to do. So much to think about. So much to plan for. So much to do. Wait, did I say that already?
And that is just the school stuff. Then there is home life. Friend life. Life. Who has the time?
We do…we make the time…but we are tired. Being tired is okay. It comes with the job. But…
Make sure your tired is worth it.
Sometimes our tired comes from doing things that really, really, REALLY matter for our students (and our life). Sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes we are spending our time and energy on things that may not be that important. Often times, these things are given to us to do by other. Other times we give these things to ourselves.
It is easier said than done, but we have got to prioritize…and that means taking a hard look at ourselves and what we are doing. It might mean carving away things we love to do in our classroom but really aren’t making much of a difference. It might also mean taking a stand with powers that be about things that are not worth the time and energy taken away from your students.
It is hard, but you need to do it, Teacher. I need to do it. Our students can’t afford to have us burn out.
And I know you can do this. You are awesome! You are amazing. You can definitely make changes and fight battles for the sake of your students and your sanity! You can do it. I can do it. We just have to step up and do it!
I can’t be anymore specific on how to prioritize because I don’t know your situation. But I think you know the things that can and need to go. Whatever they are, I totally have your back and believe in you. I don’t want an amazing teacher like you to burnout and leave the field that needs you.
Have I mentioned that you are awesome? Well, you are!
Thank you for all you do. Thank you for the work you put it. Thank you for fighting hard to make a difference in the life of your students. You are. You definitely are! You rock! Keep going and keep on teaching, Teacher!
PS…Could you do me a favor and check out the new posters I created and let me know what you think? They are based on growth mindset. I tried to come up with a way to promote the mindset with my classroom walls. This is the second set of these (you can get a free preview of some of the posters from each set here). I am a big believer in promoting growth mindset…and students eyes wonder around the room anyway, why not have something on the wall to help inspire them to set goals and work hard to reach them?! Oh, and if you like them, they are on sale right now! Thanks! 🙂
It is almost the end of the year…I think it calls for a special post. Theme song post time!
I have actually been thinking about this one for a while. The song is “Hello” by Adele. The song is great, but lately I have started to think about my teaching life and the different versions of my teacher self throughout the school year.
What if I could call and talk to myself at the beginning of the year? What would I say? What would I hold back? Would I advise? Would I apologize? I don’t know…but I am going to give it a shot here. Please “listen in” on my conversation with myself and think about what you might say to yourself.
Oh, and I realize that this is a just a cover of the original song, but I really like this version…so click play and then read on.
We need to talk.
First of all, I would just like to say, you are so awesome! Your ideas and energy. It is why I teach. You know that you are going to make a difference this year, and I love you for this. Don’t lose that. Never lose that.
Hello from the other side.
This is going to be a rough year. You are going to face trials and troubles like you have never seen. You are going to have your teaching heart broken. You are going to want to quit.
You will really consider it.
I wish I would have gotten in touch with you sooner.
I have needed your spark and light.
There are going to be times that the spark is going to almost be extinguished and that light is going to dim.
I am sorry to tell you, but you are barely going to make it through the year alive (as a teacher).
I have barely made it.
I am barely here.
Your full-on sprint at the beginning of the year is going to taper down to where I am right now. I am crawling to the finish line. And I can barely breathe. I am barely teacher living.
I am sorry for what I have done to you.
I really am.
Hello from the other side.
Let me just assure of one undeniable truth. From where I am right now, it was worth it.
I can see where our students have come from and how far they’ve come. We have made a difference. We have changed lives. We have done everything that your optimistic heart hoped and dreamed for this year. We’ve done it!
You will be completely drained, beat-up, and exhausted, but you have affected the lives of your students for forever. Amazing things have happened in our classroom this year. There has been magic. There has been wonder.
Do not give up the fight.
It will all be worth it in the end!
Hello from the other side…
Thanks for reading my little message to myself. Did you see yourself in this? Could you have the same conversation with your beginning-of-the-year-you?
You know, no matter what happened this year, beautiful things happened in that classroom of yours. Magic and life change did occur. Everything you went through was worth it for the sake of your students. To help remind you of this, I want to close this note to you with a few more teachers stories of classroom beauty and magic that happened this year. And if you would like to share a story of wonder from your classroom, you can do so here.
Teacher Michelle – Kindergarten
I work hard on creating a family out of my class of kindergarteners. They come from very low income homes and have very rough lives. In my classroom we work hard on creating relationships and bonding.It can get really hard, but the rewards are worth it.
Recently a child in my class won a ticket to Six Flags for being the only one who completed the required minutes of reading and turned the paper in. when i announced it to my class, i honestly expected to hear a lot of whining and “why didnt I get one!?” But INSTEAD… when i made the announcement my ENTIRE CLASS began applauding and shouting out “good job!” and “good for you!”
That was the day I knew we were a family.
Teacher Joanne – High School (Retired)
I retired from full time teaching and now work as an office manager for a national tax preparation company.
During the season, I was assisting a client who was accompanied by one of my former students, a friend of hers. She asked him if he had done his taxes yet, and he said, “Oh yes, Ms. Maura taught us all about it in finance class.” I wanted to hug him, but I said, “Thank God someone was paying attention that day!” I won’t also mention all of the greetings I get in the community (I live in the city where I taught for 20+ years).
Teacher Alice – High School
My first year of teaching was a challenging experience, as it is for many teachers. I was teaching 6-7 periods a day, and my classes were mutli-leveled ESL classes. In one class, I had everything from a level one (absolute beginner) to 5 (advanced, ready to transition to mainstream) in the same class. I struggled mightily.
At the end of the year, I assigned the students to write a thank you letter to someone in the building that had made a difference for them during the year. One sweet, upper level student, who had been an immense help to me in that challenging class, placed her note on my desk at the end of the class and told me to open it. The text of the note read, “thank you, thank you, thank you! One thank you for all you taught me this year, one thank you for being there for me, and one thank you for how you change my life. Always remember this, Miss: stars need darkness to shine. I may not know how to write a letter, but I know there is not a wrong way to say thank you.” I sat at my desk and bawled.
Teacher, you are making a difference and have done amazing work this year! You are so awesome! Please know that everything you went through this year was worth. You have had a greater effect than you will ever know. Thanks for all that you do! Hold on…the year is almost over! Keep on doing the incredible things you do and keep on teaching, Teacher!
PS…Dear Teacher/Love Teacher is looking for a little help. Check this out for more information. Thanks!
You do so much. I don’t mean that as a meaningless platitude because it is Teacher Appreciation Week. I mean that as someone who knows. Someone who has and is living the life of a teacher. You do so very much!
It is almost inconceivable how much that you do for your students, your students’ families, your coworkers, your administration, your family, your friends, and…sometimes, every once in a while, on the rare occasion…for yourself…though, that is seriously not as often as it should be. You live and breathe for others. And you do it because you have a heart for others, especially your students.
You do so much!
And there is not much that you get in return; at least not tangible things. This is something you are okay with. You are because you are doing what you do for something bigger. You are working for the lives and future of your students…which is what matters most to you.
You do deserve more, though.
In all honesty, you do deserve more money for all that you do. You deserve more respect from others. You deserve more recognition for the extra miles that you go. You deserve more freedom and autonomy within the system because you do know what you are doing most of the time. With that, you deserve the trust that you can make good decisions for the sake of your students. And the list could go on and on.
You are a great teacher and you deserve more than you get!
You deserve more and you know it…but this is not what is important to you. What is important is that you impact your students lives and help them become the amazing people that they can be one day. This is what makes you awesome. You know you deserve more, but that is not what drives you. Your students drive you. And this is one of the many reasons you deserve more.
We both know that the “more” may never come. But there is one thing that I can offer you. I can offer you a thank you.
Really, really, really, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Teacher.
I thank you for all that you do. I thank you for the things that you do that you don’t have to. I thank you for your heart. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
I thank you as a fellow teacher who you serve as an example for. I thank you as a parent who has teachers that are like you and are influenced by you. And I thank you as a citizen of the world because you really are making the future better.
Teacher, I can not give you all that you deserve, and for this I am sorry. But I do promise to always try to thank you…even when it is not Teacher Appreciation Week. A thank you is something you deserve every day! I will do my best to try.
You are an amazingly awesome teacher! Thank you for teaching on even though you do not get everything you deserve! You are making a difference and changing lives. Keep going and keep on teaching, Teacher!
It is here: Testing, Assessment, and Evaluation Season.
It comes around every year. No one loves it, but it is a harsh reality that will probably not go away any time soon.
Students must be tested. Learning must be assessed. Teaching must be evaluated. How else will accountability happen in education? Right?
Why do I hear crickets after asking the question?
Oh yeah, no one wants to talk about it. Okay, so I won’t either. I just want to remind you about something.
You and your students are way more than just an assessment or evaluation result. The learning and growing that happens in your classroom can’t be measured by a standardized test and/or rubric.
The true measurement of what happened in the classroom can only be experienced. You have to know where the students were when they came to you in the beginning of the year…not just academically and according to standards, but also socially, emotionally, and ownership of learning. These things are hard to standardize…no, they are impossible to standardize.
So…DON’T LOSE HEART ABOUT TESTING AND EVALUATIONS!
I know there is a lot tied to them…but breathe. Relax. Remember that the true worth in what happens in your classroom is in the results of the growth that is clear in the students that leave your classroom at the end of the year.
You can’t control the assessment process, but you can control how you react to it.
Don’t put all of your stock in the assessments and evaluations. Instead, take stock of what has happened and the change you have seen in your students…even if it is just a little bit of change in some students, you can celebrate it! A win is a win.
Reflect on what you have seen in each student. Write it down. Point it out to them. Let them see the growth as you take time to see it, too. Make sure they know that this is the true measurement of learning in your class. This will help you and your students find a bit of joy here in the stressful season at the end of the year.
What have you seen and can celebrate?
A student who asks questions more?
Someone who follows instructions more often?
Homework being done a little more often?
Effort being put in where it wasn’t before?
Finishing work and not giving up?
An increase in success for some students?
Waiting more often and taking turns?
Someone who has stopped being mean to others?
The list could go on and on, but I think you get it.
You are an excellent and amazing teacher. I have no doubt you know how to measure the learning and change in your classroom. This is just a little nudge to get back to what you know and to find joy at the end of what has been a trying and tough year.
You have done a great job this year! Your students are changing. They are different students than came to you at the beginning. You are the one to thank for that! You have stuck it out with them. You have put in the effort and tears. You have done whatever it takes to see that change. Celebrate it. You really are an awesome teacher!
Don’t let the testing and evaluations get you bogged down. You and your students are more than scores. You are learners and learning HAS happened this year . You are the reason that it has…and this means that you rock!
Thank you for all you do! Keep on teaching, Teacher!
I so try to avoid this issue here. It is something that we all deal with. It’s something I think most of us feel the same way about. It is a reality of teaching that we all just kind of “deal” with and try not to let it get us too down.
However, this time of year it is hard to avoid, and I think it is getting to a point that we won’t have any choice but to really talk about it.
Standardized testing…state testing…MAP testing…testing to prepare for testing…benchmarks to help us test to prepare for testing…quizzing to help us no where students are before benchmarking progress towards testing…
Testing, testing, testing.
It is an unfortunate requirement of the teaching life in the system we are currently in.
I will probably one day have no choice but to write some of my opinions on all of this, but that is not my goal for the day.
No, my goal is you.
Testing season is one of the most trying times of the year for teachers…know that you are not alone in how you feel right now. And, it is not because it is hard to test students or difficult to keep their attention during reviews (which it can be). Testing season is tough because we have to separate our teaching mind from our teaching heart.
I heard someone say or read something someone said recently (I don’t remember which), “Why do we work so hard to differentiateinstruction for each student just to prepare them for standardized tests?” I think they were being tongue-in-cheek and making a joke, but it really is a good question!
If research shows that differentiated instruction leads to deeper learning, understanding, and memory, wouldn’t follow through that testing should be differentiated so students can show what they have really learned?
There is so much I could say here about this, but I will save it for another time. I think you see what I mean. There is this part of us that really wants to see our students succeed. It is this drive that pushes us to find ways that help each student learn. This is our heart. We want our students to become the people we know that they can be.
Then there is this other side of us that wants (or is forced to need by the system) evidence to prove how much our students are learning. This is where standardized testing fits in. It is the way that we have been given to provide that evidence. If they can answer questions the same way other students do, then they have learned…or so we are told.
Because this is the measure we are using (whether we like it or not), we want to see our students do well on the tests…and this is where the problem lies…
In order for us to prepare our students for the tests so they can do well, we need them to take tests like the one they will take. Some students do this better than others, so we scaffold and differentiate instruction in test taking. We need to prepare for all variances in vocabulary on the test, so we drill, drill, drill. We need to make sure that students know how to find wrong answers, too, so they can eliminate them. So we practice, practice, practice. Also, we need to see real results on how students are progressing toward the test, so we test, test, test…and so the cycle goes on…and on…and on.
All of this takes time. We have to cut out some of the time we want to take for teaching content. We have to cut corners and cut back. We have to teach content in limited ways to buy time. Differentiation of instruction becomes more and more standardized…
And this breaks our teaching heart when we realize this is what we are doing…but not doing this means that some students may not do as well on the tests…and we are torn.
I don’t have an answer for this. I just want to let you know that you really are not alone in this. We are all feeling this tension. It is hard. It make teaching less of a passion and more of a job…and our heart breaks more for this.
Don’t give up, Teacher! Trust your teaching heart. Do what is right for your students! This is the only advice I know to give right now. You can never go wrong in trusting what you know about your students and letting that drive your decisions. Students first!
You know what your students need because you know them and have been fighting hard to differentiate for each one all year – don’t start doubting yourself now!
I know that you try to do what is best for those souls in your room everyday. This is what makes you a great teacher! You are doing a great job! Keep on doing what you feel is what is needed. Don’t doubt yourself! You are amazing and doing an amazing job! Keep going and keep on teaching, Teacher!
Thank you for all that you do! You are awesome and you rock!
You pour out your heart and soul for your students. You care more about them than sometimes they do. You think about what they need, what they feel, and who they are…and this matters to you. You try as hard as you can to put them first.
Seriously, you are amazing!
You work hard for the sake of your students despite doing this work in a system that seems to be working against you at times. You put in long hours. You plan, plan, plan. You implement…and modify, modify, modify. You differentiate…and differentiate more…and differentiate again. You test (even though you may not agree with the amount of testing)…and encourage, encourage, encourage. You work with students and intervene, intervene, intervene. You are tired, exhausted, and burned out, but you keep doing all of this because of point one…you care about your students.
No, really. You are seriously amazing!
You have so many expectations put on you. You have to prove how hard you are working for the growth of your students. You find evidence of that growth. You defend the choices you make in the classroom. You make hard choices about stands to make for your students. You fight for the students that “aren’t making enough progress.” You engage in battles for your students in and out of the classroom. This takes a toll on your teaching heart, but yet you keep going…again, all for point one. You care for your students.
If you haven’t gotten the point yet. YOU ARE AMAZING, TEACHER!
You do more than you have to. You take flak for the things you do for your students, but you protect them from that flak. You do what you need to do to reach your students. Sometimes you are the only one that sees the goal and the purpose of what you are doing and you get resistance from every angle, from your students and from The-Powers-That-Be. Still, you soldier on. You take on more than you have to and more stress than you should. But you do what you do every day because your students need you to. And it will make so much more of a difference than you will ever know!
Yes, I keep saying it, but you need to know it. You, my teacher friend, are AMAZING!
Thank you for all that you do. I know that you feel beat up, beat down, worn in, and worn out right now, and you aren’t sure if you can keep going. I don’t know how to help this besides reminding you that you are changing your students’ lives and futures…and I can say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You are more amazing that words can say and that you will ever know!
Just in case you don’t get it yet, I think you are pretty dang AMAZING. You are so awesome. I am one of your biggest fans. Please don’t lose hope! Keep on teaching, Teacher!
PS…In case you didn’t read yesterday’s post, please check it out…many more words of the difference you are making and how awesome you are! 🙂
I really wanted to write to you this morning. I know that this has been a difficult and trying time for you. This time of the year usually is. I have been thinking and trying to come up with some way to remind you how awesome you are and encourage you to keep going and keep fighting…and I did.
It is time for something I haven’t done in a while – a theme song post. If you have never read one of my theme song posts, all you have to do is click play on the video and read. If you can’t read with music on, listen to the song and then read. Got it? Good! Let’s go!
Teacher…no one really knows but us what it is like. Teaching is one of the roughest roads that someone can choose to go down. It has a bright destination, but it sure can be a dark path sometimes. There is no sugar-coating it. Teaching is tough.
As teachers, we are fighting for the lives and futures of our students. That is no small thing. With just that, we are battling some pretty scary and menacing enemies.
On top of that, add the fact that we have “friendly enemies.” Well meaning people who are trying to make education better are making it quite difficult to do what we need to do to reach those minds in our classrooms.
And then there is the standardize testing…and I will just leave that without comment. Too much to say…
It can feel like the job of teacher is an impossible task…and it is…it is for anyone besides you.
Listen, Teacher, you were and are cut out for this. You are amazing!
In everything mentioned above, you keep going. You keep trying. You keep fighting. Because in your heart of hearts you know that you were made for this.
You are a fighter and this is your battle.
It can be a long, grueling skirmish…the enemies surround you…you feel alone in the fight…
But something clicks in for you. You remember who you are fighting for…and it is not for you. It is for people, young people, who can’t fight for themselves. This sparks something deep inside of you and gives you the will and strength to forge ahead.
This is who you are. These are your true colors.
Not everyone can see them, but I do. They are shining through…and they are shining brightest in the lives of your students now and tomorrow.
Those true colors are beautiful. Like a rainbow.
You are making a difference, Teacher! The stands you make are worth it. The time, energy, and tears are planting seeds in the minds of your students. And those seeds are growing!
Don’t lose heart, Teacher. Don’t give up. You are fighting a good fight. Keep on fighting and keep on teaching! You rock!
So I have told you much about my new position as a teacher this year. This post is not about that, but I currently work at my district’s science center as a STEM teacher. In this job I get to come into contact with many of the students in the district and areas near by, but more than that I get to see many, many teachers in action with students. I get to talk to them and find out how things are going and what is working for them. This is one of my favorite things about my job.
Let me just say, I have been able to meet and interact with some great teachers. Some really, really excellent teachers. And I have been impressed and humbled by them. I do not know if I was in the same league as some of them when I was still in the classroom. Seriously.
They all have many different traits, but I have been able to observe some commonalities between them. It seems like there is a “formula” to being a great teacher. However, I do not know how much it can be learned versus natural ability and personality. They are not the kind of things that fit on a lesson plan, but, even so, some things are worth practicing and trying!
The number one thing that I noticed among the great teachers I have met is that they know each of their students and have individual ways of interacting with each. I don’t know if this makes sense. What I mean is that their way of talking with and helping each student seems to be differentiated to the personality of each student. This does not come easy. This means knowing each student as an individual and know how to bring the best out of each. This is an amazing feat and trait. There is a video being passed around Facebook of a basketball coach and his team that shows this better than I can explain.
I love this video. I have probably watched it at least 20 times. The time it took him to know his players and develop these handshakes was probably enormous, but the relationship building that happened was priceless. This is the kind of individualizing and differentiation I see among the great teachers. Not necessarily with handshakes, but with the way that they approach each student.
The second common trait of great teachers I have seen is a willingness to put students first, even over schedules and non-essential policies. Great teachers see what students need and bend the rigidness of their structure (or schedule) to make sure that learning happens or needs are met. This is hard to explain much further because it depends on the situation on what this means, but I can give an example.
When I see classes of students, it is usually in the form of a field trip to the science center. There is a pretty tight schedule between arrival, labs, lunch, and departure. Most teachers try to stick to that schedule, and rightfully so. However, some of the great teachers work around the schedule a bit when their students are on the edge of making some real connections with content or concepts. Some teachers will sacrifice a few minutes of lunch or be willing to take the fall for making the bus wait for them for a few minutes. They know that what the students are doing at the center is worthwhile, and they are willing to take flack for the sake of their kids. And I am sure this applies to situations in their classrooms, as well.
The next thing that seems to be a commonality between great teachers is that they do not waste one teachable moment. The greatest teachers always have a way of making learning happen everywhere. No situation is without something to spark curiosity, review concepts, or teach about life in general. Learning is a way of life for those teachers, and so is teaching. And it happens in every moment of the day is some little way.
Great teachers also always make great strides in making sure that everything connects. Just like learning happens everywhere for these teachers, learning is also connected to other things and never stands alone. You have to make every minute count, and that means that students need to see that content and concepts are connected. Math relates to science which relates to social studies which relates to ELA…or any combination of this…and all of it connects to students lives and the world at-large. This come back to making every moment a teachable moment. If there is a connection that can be made between things that students need to learn, great teachers make sure that they try to help their kids connect those dots.
Last, but definitely not least, great teachers all tend to make sure that students see the impossible as being possible. I am not talking things that are physically impossible like putting on a cape and flying, but the things that students see as impossible that are actually quite possible. Students that struggle in reading can be great readers. Students who don’t know their multiplication facts yet can be great math students. Students who see school as a place where they can’t live up to the expectation can survive, thrive, and love learning. Great teachers help students see what is impossible to them as possible and help them do the work to make the impossible possible. Great teachers help students past their failures and through the work it takes to be a success. It takes time, effort, and determination, but these teachers stop at nothing to make it happen.
There are many other aspects of great teachers and great teaching, but I think these five are very attainable by all of us. Does it take hard work? Yes. Are we going to have to make decisions that are “off plan?” Sure we will. Will we take flack for the choices we make? You better believe it. Will it be worth it for the lives and futures of our students? More than we will ever know!
So, as you write your lesson plans, remember the things that don’t quite fit on the plans. The needs, personalities, and futures of your students. Remember what comes first. Don’t be afraid to leave the lesson plans and fly without a net from time to time. It’s what great teachers do…and I have a feeling you are one of those great teachers! Do remember, though, that the impact you make by doing these things may not be something you see for quite a while…but you will be making a lasting impact.
You are an amazing teacher! I know that you put students first. Know that this is what makes you a great teacher! Keep doing what you do and keep on teaching, Teacher!
PS… A quick update. After I wrote this yesterday, I saw this video posted on Facebook. This is a great teacher. She gets it. Students are more than can be measured (especially measured by a test and a formula of how much computer time they “need”). She is a great teacher…we can talk later about how so many of the great teachers seem on the verge of giving up.
You are beat up and beat down. You are worn out. You are worn down. This has been one of the toughest and roughest years of your career.
You don’t know if you can do this anymore.
Somewhere in and through the stress of students, parents, administration, and the system, you have lost sight of why you are doing this. You don’t see the difference you intended to make. You can’t see the forest. You can’t see the trees. You only see dwindling patience, one more student that doesn’t have a pencil, and another email about lesson plans that you haven’t turned in yet.
You are at the end of your rope and it is becoming more and more tempting to just let go.
You are losing your grip.
While you contemplate how much the fall will hurt, can I just tell you something…well, a few somethings?
First thing that you need to know is that you are absolutely, one hundred and fifty percent not alone. More teachers feel this way this year than don’t, I think. It is a common thought and feeling.
Even if it doesn’t fee like it, other teachers are going through exactly what you are right now. Probably other teachers in your school…most likely the teacher in the room next door.
I know it is kind of messed up that a lot of teachers are in the same boat…but at least you don’t have to be alone in this.
And that is great, but what do we do about it?
We need to remember that the education system is not why we got into this business…we went through the trouble of becoming a teacher because we actually care about students and their future. The system is what is wearing us out, but the students are who are keep us in.
Unfortunately, we are bound by the system. How do we work within it to make the biggest difference in the lives of those learners in our classrooms?
I think it all comes down to spending a bit of time before each school day remembering why we teach. It means thinking about each student (or some of them each day, if you teach multiple classes). We have to remember that each of those souls are people and that we actually care about them and where they are going in life.
If we do that, it will lead us to think more carefully about our decisions in the classroom. We will be driven to take stands for what is best for students. We will fight for what is right. We will truly differentiate for each child and what they need from us.
As that happens, our teacher heart will start to beat again. We will find our passion again for teaching. We will be ready to change the world all over again.
I know this is all easier said than done, but I think it is time we start doing what we know needs to be done. I think it is time to be brave and bold…for our students good and for ours.
You are a TEACHER! You actually do know what you are doing most of the time. You know your students and care about their lives. You know how to make classroom decisions. You are courageous! You are strong! You are intelligent! You matter to the future of your students and you are making a difference!
Remember why you do what you do and that you are not alone in this. Be brave and do what needs to be done. You will be happier in the long-run because you are doing what are made for!
You are amazing! You are awesome! Thank you for all that you do! Remember that you can do anything for a year, and this year is almost done. You’ve got this! Don’t give up! Keep on persevering and keep on teaching, Teacher! You rock!