Posted in General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers

Alive (on Monday)


(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,

Another Monday.  Another week.  Are you ready?  Are you pumped?  Are you beat-up?  Are you dragging?  Are you somewhere in between?

Let’s see if there is a theme song that will cover wherever you may be on the spectrum.  Click play and read on!

It’s Monday.  That could mean a lot of things to you.

If you are in the “up” side of the teaching roller-coaster, you are excited, amped up, and ready to go.

If you are in the “down” of the teaching ride, you are tired, worn-out, and scrambling to make sure that you have it all together.

If you are at the “top” of the hill, you have been up early just chomping at the bit to get back to school and your students today.

If you are at the “bottom” of the hill, you have probably slept in and wondering if you have enough sick days to cash one in today.

No matter where you are…which is probably somewhere between one of the stages listed…you are a teacher.  Remember what that means!

You get to do what no one else gets to do, and you are good at it (no matter what anyone says)!

  • You get to teach!  
  • You get to help students learn about the world!  
  • You get to see the “aha” moments.  
  • You get to see students learn.  
  • You get to see them learn how to learn for themselves and by themselves.  
  • You get to see students become better readers.  
  • You get to see them become better writers.  
  • You get to see them become better people.  
  • You get to see them become the better people that will better the world and better the future.

You get to do what no one else gets to do!  You are a teacher!  You teach!  And you are good at it!

Teacher, look up!  You are alive!  You are a teacher!  Teach like you mean it today!

Shake off those things that bring you down.  Shrug off what people say that doesn’t line up with what you know about your students and yourself.  Learn from reflections and observations, and let those things make you better.

Focus on the students, focus on the students, focus on your students!  (I can’t say that enough!)  Be encouraged by something…find the positive in the things that want to drag you down.  Find what is great about every student, and try to bring it out!

Look around at the great teachers around you and remember you are a champion among champions!  Teach what the students need you to teach.  Teach in a way that students can learn and learn for themselves.

Be alive today.

  • Smile more.
  • Give high-fives.
  • Spread encouragement to others.
  • Breathe.
  • Let today be awesome.
  • Let this week be awesome.
  • Be awesome.

You are awesome!

This is your week.

Make this week yours.

You are amazing!

Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Perseverance

The Attitude of Edison


(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,

Don’t give up.  That is basically all that I want to tell you this morning.  Just don’t give up.  Don’t stop.

I know that the weight of teaching is heavy.  We push and push, but the push back is often more intense.

We can see what our students need more than they can.  You know your students.  You know how close they are to understand what you are teaching them.  You know how close they are to becoming more complete self-learners.

But the resistance makes it hard to keep moving.

You are beat up.  You are tired.  You are exhausted.  You have very little left to give.

It would be easier to drop back and punt…you can try again another day.

Don’t stop.  Don’t give in.  Don’t move back.  Keep pushing.  Keep going!

You don’t see it from where you are, but you are so very close to success with your students.  You see how close they are, but guess what?  You are SO CLOSE to getting them there.  I know it is hard, but don’t stop!

Find your reserves.  You have some hidden energy and strength left.  Find it.  Use it.  You are seriously almost there.  Just give a little more.  You can do this.  I know you can because you are awesome!

Two of my favorite quotes of all time are from Thomas Edison:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

You are on the verge of success.  A miracle is on the horizon.  Chase it.  Go for it.  You are almost there!  Push on.  Further on and further in.  You’ve got this, you amazing Teacher, you!

Take on the the attitude of Edison today.  Don’t give up.  Don’t let apparent failures stop you.  Failure never means you can’t do something, it just means you need to keep trying and find some new ways.

You don’t have to stop.  You have this.  You are close.  Keep going and keep moving forward!

Your students will watch you, they will learn to do the same thing.  They won’t give up and snatch defeat from the jaws of looming victory.  They will keep trying until they get it…just like they saw you do.

Don’t give up!

You are an amazingly awesome teacher!  You have what it takes.  You have the strength and fortitude.  Prove it today!  You will see success, so keep pushing on and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…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 (or Growth Mindset ABC’s) 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.

Posted in General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Theme Song, Uncategorized

Wavin’ Flag (and teaching our students to do the same)


(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,

Good Monday morning to you!  I know, Mondays can be hard, but it is a new week and time to get pumped up for it.  I think I found a good song to help you do that!

In case you are new to my Monday morning posts, click play and then read on.  It is time for your weekly theme song.  🙂

Teacher friend, we have the most amazing job in the world.  We teach.  Well, we do more than just teach, but that is all a part of what being a teacher means.

What we do can be difficult, but that makes it no less amazing.  I know that new weeks bring new challenges and stresses, but we can’t let that bring us down.  It is a new day and a new week, and we get to start over…no matter what last week or yesterday was like!  We need to find the joy in that!

It is a bright, sunny, new start!  Even if it is raining where you are.  We can lift our head up.  We can wave our flag.  We can find freedom in the newness of every day!

We need to.  We have to.  There is no way around it.  It is a part of our job as teachers!

A part of our job?  Really, DearTeacherLoveTeacher Guy?

Yes, it is a part of our job!

Why?

I am glad that you asked!  It is a part of our job because, as I said, being a teacher is more than just teaching.  A part of what we do is to model life for our students.  They look up to us.  They rely on us.  They see us as a model of how to “do life.”  If we do something, say something, or act in someway…they see it.  They absorb it.  They analyze it.  And they mirror it.

Are we helping them prepare for life as well-balanced adults?  What is the picture that we are giving them?  What is the model that we are putting in front of them to follow?  If they mimic us, what would we see?

How we react, how we act, how we cope, how we change, how we “do life” is constantly under the microscope of some of the most keen-eyed scientists in the world, our students.  They are watching.  They are waiting.  They want to see what we do and how we live.

We never truly know the environment that our students come from, and we do not know the models for life that they have at home.  They may need another way to think and react.  They may need a different view on life.  Are we showing that to our students?  Are we showing another option than what they see at home?

True, a lot of our students may get great visions of life at home…but not all of them.  Also, if they have great models at home, they are still watching you and others to see what it is like for other people.  We are being analyzed no matter what.

So, are you showing your students how to embrace each and every day as a new start with confidence and a sense of freedom?  Are we showing them how to start over?  Are we teaching them to hold up their heads and wave their flags?

I know that you are showing your students what they need to see.  I also know that if you have had some bad days with this that you will start fresh today and make some positive changes.  I know that you love and care for you students, and you will do all that you can to help them learn how to “do life” well!  You are awesome and amazing!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…by the way, I am running a sale in my DearTeacher/LoveTeacher Store on TeachersPayTeachers.  I have two new notes available.  The picture at the top is one of them, and the picture that follows is another.  The students and teachers at my school love getting and using these notes.  You just print, cut, and write on the backs of them.  Join me in spreading encouragement and causing a positive revolution!

(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)
Posted in General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Uncategorized

Why We Fight…


Dear Teacher,

I do not know how you feel right now, but I feel like I have been in a fight.  Not a fist fight, but a battle.  The beginning of this school year has been a little rough.  My students have been great!  I am not talking about them.  It has just been tough to get things going.

I have written a lot about the changes that I am striving to make this year.  It is not easy to dramatically change how you do what you have been doing for a long time.  This is my eighth year of teaching, so I am trying to break a lot of old habits and undo a lot of the “old ways” that I have taught.  When the going gets hectic and the clearness of my schedule gets muddied, I want to fall back into what is comfortable.

Yesterday was most definitely one of those days.  I had to constantly remind myself why the changes are important.  I had to keep telling myself why I needed to keep going on the road that I am on.  I had to look at myself and tell me that I can not give up and I can’t surrender.

It was hard.  I was left feeling beat up by the battle by the end of the day.  So now, at the beginning of a new day, as I sat and thought about what I might want to write for a post, I wondered what I needed to hear myself.  What I came up with is that I need some motivation.  Something to pump me up.  So I went on a search.

I found a pretty motivating (and a little funny from the way it was set up) set of movie speeches to get me fired up and ready for the day.  Have a watch and listen with me.

I love the way that was put together!  Are you more ready for the day now (or tomorrow if you are seeing this at the end of the school day)?  I know I am!

As I was looking for this, I found another video that was shown at a training I recently went to.  This video helped me this morning, as well.  It is a look at the recent past and the exponential changes we have seen in present and full of predictions for the continued changes into the future.  It is a reminder that we are teaching students for who the future is unknown.  There is a statistic that keeps changing (in the upward direction) of the percentage of jobs that will be available to our students when they are adults that do not exist at the moment.  This is in the video.  This statistic never ceases to astound me.  It is eye-opening to think that our students are going to enter a world that does not exist yet, and this world is unfathomable to us at the moment.  We HAVE to be on our game.  We have to fight!

I probably ought to share the video.  🙂  Even if you have seen it before, it is worth another watch.

After this, I don’t have a lot to say.  I need to let all of this sink in for you and let it motivate you for your “fight” today.  I do want to close with a quote that goes along with the video and what this information means for us as teachers.  It is from Eric Hoffer, a 20th Century American philosopher.  What is amazing about this quote is that he past away in 1983…a little before the impending technology boom that has caused much of the exponential changes that we are seeing.

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

Teacher, I hope you have a great day.  I hope you have a great end to the week.  I hope next week brings some of the awesome that you are working towards with your student.  You are awesome and amazing!  You are fighting the good fight.  Keep fighting and keep on teaching!

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)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
Posted in Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Theme Song, You Are Awesome!!!

It’s My Life [and my school year]


(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,

Okay, I know that you may or may not be starting the new school year when you read this.  However, there is a good chance that you are, because most of the readers of this blog are from the US.  If you are not starting the new school year, you may still find some motivation here in this post, so read on.  I hope it will be worth your time!

This is a theme song post; you know the procedures by now, I hope!  Click play and then start reading when the music starts!

This is it, Teacher.  A new school year is upon you.  Are you ready?  Are you nervous?  Are you anxious?  Are you excited?  Or are you, like me, a jumble and mix of all three and then some?

What are your plans for the year?  I don’t mean unit and lesson plans.  I mean what are your plans in the terms of what you want the school year to look like?  Do you have those kind of plans?  Do you have goals, hopes, and dreams for what the school year could be like?  I don’t mean the kind of hopes and dreams that you think, “That would be nice but it won’t happen.”  I mean the kind of hopes and dreams that you believe in so much that it gets you up in the morning and you will wear yourself out to make happen?

A lot of us had those kind of plans when we first started teaching.  Unfortunately, the longer you teach the more that kind of thinking fades.  Lofty and slightly unrealistic goals get beat out of you by the realities of teaching.  It does happen slowly, thank goodness, but our hopes erode over the years.

Drip by drip, the stress and pressure of teaching starts to wear on you.  It breaks down the hope.  It washes some of the dreaming away.  It dims the light that used to shine so bright.

Sometimes this gets to the point that the school year happens to you.  You get stuck in a form of “survival mode” that you stay in just to make it through.  You love and do your best with your students, but the spark is faded or gone.  You go along with the waves and currents of the year because you have so little fight left.  It is a normal part of teaching for so many of us.  Don’t feel bad if you have been there or are there.  There is hope!

What is that hope, Mr. Dear Teacher/Love Teacher?

The hope is that IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!

Most of this is going to be a mental exercise, so I know that you may or may not see this as a little bit of “pie in the sky hooey,” but you just have to change your thinking!  You have to believe that this year is going to be different.  This year will be the change and you will never be the same teacher again!  You have to stand firm and resolute.  You have have to stand tall, look this new school year in the eye, and be determined that you are going to happen to the year and the year is not just going to happen to you!

Your attitude has to change.

Remember way back to when you first started out.  Remember those wild-eyed dreams that you had.  Remember the teacher that you were determined to be.  Remember how you were going to take the world by storm and change the lives of your students for the better.

Have that image and those thoughts in your head, and then look in the mirror and tell yourself that it is not too late.  You know why?  It is because, no matter how long that you have been teaching, IT IS NOT TOO LATE!  You can still be that teacher!  You can still meet those goals!

The best part is that the longer you have been teaching, the more know-how and experience you have to make those things happen and be that teacher you wanted to be.  You just have to purpose yourself to do so!  And you can!  You can because you are awesome!

The past does not matter.  No matter the teacher you have been, you can still be the teacher you always wanted to be!  Find a way to do it.  Hang out with those teachers that are closest to what you dreamed of being.  Learn from them.  Read, read, read!  There are so many sources for strategies and ideas!  I will post some of those sources soon.  Get to know your students.  Find out what they think they need from you as a teacher.  Try to become the teacher that they need!

Teacher, YOU CAN DO THIS!

It is your teaching life.  It is your year.  It is now or never.  Teach like your alive!  You are alive!  You can be the great teacher you wanted to be or that people think you are and you don’t believe them.  It is never too late!

BE AWESOME!  MAKE THIS YEAR AWESOME!  DO WHAT EVER IT TAKES!  YOU CAN BECAUSE YOU ARE AMAZING!  KEEP ON TEACHING, TEACHER!

This is your year, and don’t you forget it!

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 General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, You Are Awesome!!!

Are You Oozing? You Should Be.


(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,

When I went to New York City for the first time this summer, there was a lot of things that I expected.  I was not disappointed, and I mean this in a good way.  However, it was the unexpected that blew me away and that I will always stick with me (and make me want to go back).

The major unexpected thing for me was that I absolutely fell in love with the city.  I loved it!  I loved everything about it!  We were only there for two days, and I took around 500 pictures!  I took pictures of anything and everything!  You can probably tell.  I have used the pictures on the blog a lot.  🙂  There are so many things that made me just love the city, but one of the big things was another unexpected thing, and that is the New York City Police Department.

I have heard that the NYPD has a reputation of love for their city and will do what they can to take care of the city and the people who call it home.  There are stories (and movies) here and there of “cops gone bad,” but that is really few and far between.  I believed the good things that I heard.  I expected to respect the police there, very much.  And I did.  What I did not expect was the pride.

Pride is one of the only words I can think of the NYPD when I look back at our trip.  Every NYPD officer that I saw showed pride.  I do not know how to explain what I mean by that.  The best I can say is that pride for themselves and the city was on them like a part of their uniform.  They wore it and it shined off of them like the summer Sun off of something shiny.  Pride oozed from their being.  This was especially so the closer you got to the 9/11 Memorial site.  They were proud of who they are, what they do, who they represent, and their city.  And they made me feel that pride.  It gave me a far deeper respect for them, and it does me great honor to talk about them right now.  Their pride changes them, and I have a feeling that their pride is a part of why people fall in love with NYC.

I could talk more about this, much more.  We had some cool encounters with some police officers while we were there, but I think you get the point.  Pride is powerful.  Pride for the right things is even more powerful.  It makes people respect what you do, but more than that, it makes people want to be more because you are more.  Pride is a part of the more that I wrote about yesterday.  Pride changes lives!

Teacher, are you proud about what you do?  I mean really proud?  I am not just talking about the “yeah, my job is kinda important, I guess” kind of pride.  I mean the pride that oozes from you.  People know that you are serious about what you do, you take time and effort to get better at it every day, and it just shines off of you in all that you do (in and out of school).  You are not ashamed to talk about what you do, and you talk to people about it you make them excited for you because your excitement for the beauty of education bubbles and bursts out of you in a geyser of pride.

Is this kind of pride for education something that people know you for?  Are you like the police officer on the streets of New York that gives off a pride that you can feel from just looking at them?  Is this you?  Do you wear pride like a uniform?  Do you put it on every morning…even on non-school days?

Teacher friend, think about it.  You are a teacher.  YOU ARE A TEACHER!  You are an artist that works in the medium of minds and hearts.  You get to help students have “aha moments” each and every day.  You get to find new ways to show connections between ideas and contents.  You get to help people think on their own.  You get to show how you learn.  You get to learn constantly.  You get to make a plan, implement, evaluate, and then try again.  You get new students every year.  You get to be involved in their lives.  You get to help them make decisions.  You get to help them make decisions on their own.  You get to mold and shape lives.  You get to put your fingerprints on the future.  The future will not be the same because you do what you do every day!  You make a difference with every sec0nd of every minute of the time you put in!

Show some pride!  You have the most amazing job/career in the world!  Love what you do!  Really love it!  I mean REALLY, REALLY LOVE IT!  Once you love it, let that pride ooze off of you and infect everyone you come in contact with!

Don’t begrudge planning, PD, PLCs, faculty meeting, seminars, parent conferences, student conferences, and all of the minutia of the day/week/month/year!  Embrace them!  They may be boring or mind-numbing, but they are the things that help you do what you do and make you better at it!  Let your pride in what you do make those things less irritating!  I know your job is hard, I am just like you, but look at those hard parts as things that can just make you better!  Love what you do and let your pride shine!

You are awesome!  You ARE making a difference!  You do have pride in what you do.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this!  Find a way to remember what you love, embrace it, and start oozing pride today.  I know that you will.  You are amazing!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS… Let me share the comic version of the Taylor Mali poem that I shared last Friday.  It was just created and released on Zen Pencils.  Warning, there is just a little language in it, but I think it is worth it.  It sums up what I wrote this morning and the pride we feel as teachers!

Taylor Mali – What Teachers Make
Posted in Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Theme Song

[we and our students are] Meant to Live


(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,

Good morning.  It is Monday.  You know what that means!  Weekly theme song.  This one is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands.  I am not sure if that is telling too much about me out not!  🙂  I picked this week’s song because I am pumped up.  I got through some difficult mental/emotional hiccups last week after a school meeting and learning the state test results last week, and now all of that is fuel for my personal teaching change and to help my students to fly next year!  I know I can raise them (and me) up to more than they (and I) could be without a little change in me!

Without further ado.  Click play (and skip the add if one comes up) and then keep reading.

Teacher, where ever you might be in the school year.  You may be, like me, in the summer and it is approaching the end and a new school year is looming larger and larger on the horizon.  You might be in the throes of the school year with things going great or not so great.  You may be in another place in the school year, I don’t know.

And I don’t know how you are feeling.  Are you excited?  Are things going well?  Are plans coming together and next year is starting to take shape?  Are you students doing well and all of your hard work and planning is paying off?  Or are you on the other side?  Are you terrified or extremely nervous about the new school year and things are not coming together for you?  Are you falling a part?  Is the school year not going so well?  Is all of your hard work and planning looking like a waste of time and your students are just not getting it?  Do they just not want to get it?

You most likely have a mixed bag.  That seems to be how most of us spend the school year.  A little from columns A, B, C, and D.  Some things are going well and your feeling good about how things look.  Other areas are not so good and you are a stressful wreck.  And with other factors you are just kind of in the middle.  This is how I spend most of the school year and summer.  I think we all do.  We are teachers.  We find a balance somehow!

No matter where you may be and how you may feel, I want you to stop, breathe, and relax.  Now, think of the biggest boldest, most impossible sounding goals you can have for yourself, your classroom, and your students.  Dream big.  Where do you wish you and your students could be as teachers and learners?  Who do you wish you could be as a teacher?  What would you be doing?  Who do you wish your students could be as learners and scholars?  What is your most impossible. yet semi-realistic goal that you would like your students to meet?  Teacher, I am serious.  Think of one or two gaudy goals for you and your students (“gaudy goals” are an idea from the training I went to a couple of weeks ago).  If you don’t have something to shoot for, how do you know where you are aiming?

Now that you have a goal in mind, find a way to get there.  I am serious.  What can you change?  What can you do?  Pick a handful of small things that you can do to try to move and find a path to those big, impossible sounding dreams.  Everything was impossible for the first time they were done.  There are some awesome examples of teachers who have done this and found their way to make the dreams reality.  I hope to highlight some of them soon, but that doesn’t matter right now because you could be one of those teachers.  Dreams are just dreams until we make them real.  How can you make your dreams and goals the real world for you and your students?

Teacher, you and your students are meant for so much more.  Do not be happy where you are with your students, where ever that may be.  You are meant to live for something more.  Your students are meant to live for something more.  Be something more.  Move your students on to be something more.  You can do it!  You can be more!  Go be more!  Don’t ride this feeling off.  I know that something stirred inside of you while you thought of bigger dreams.  Do it!  Work at it!  Make something more happen.  Be the something more for yourself, your students, and your school!  You are something more.  Prove it this week!

You are awesome!  You are the more!  I know you will show it to yourself and the world at-large this week!  Be the teacher you know that you always could be.  Go big this week!  I mean it!  You are amazing!  You will make a difference this week, and every week!  Keep on going and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…For those of you who use Edmodo, I have started an Edmodo Group for the daily updates.

Posted in General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Theme Song

Stronger (what doesn’t kill you)


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to this blog.)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to this blog.)

Dear Teacher,

Sorry for the tardiness of the weekly theme song, but I was running late this morning.  Fortunately, my lateness helped me finally decide on the song…I debated a few.  I usually write my posts in the morning, but I did not get to do so today and a lot has happened in the meantime!  I was able to find out the results of the state tests this year for my students…and the scores did not quite meet up to my expectations…so I definitely need today’s song.  As a matter of fact, the song has been in my head ever since I read the scores.  This week we are going to focus on the fact that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!

You know the drill.  Play the song and then continue reading.

You are teacher.  You have high expectations.  You have high expectations for your students.  You have high expectations for yourself. You have high expectations for the year.

Sometimes the expectations are realistic and easily attainable.  Sometimes the expectations are lofty and nearly impossible.  Both types of expectations are valid and important.  Attainable goals help give you benchmarks to reach throughout the year.  Nearly impossible goals give you a target to aim towards a trajectory to head out on.

Unfortunately, when all is said and done you have to measure up to the expectations.  Often, the realistic goals are reached, but sometimes the aren’t.  Seldom are the lofty goals met, but sometimes they actually are.  Either way, there is usually a mix of celebrations and letdowns at the end when you start to reflect.  Sometimes the celebrations are huge…but sometimes the letdowns are even bigger.

It is important to take a good look at the failures you have regarding your expectations (both realistic and lofty ones).  I mean, take a good long look at them.  They are a mirror.  You will be tempted to point fingers as to why this happened, but that is not the way to get better in light of the letdowns.  You need to use them as a mirror to let you see where to improve.  You and look and see what you can do differently.  What you can change.  You can see where you need help.  You can use it to identify your deficits and look for resources to help you with them.  Failure is a chance to rebuild.  It is a chance to start over.  It is a chance to start the changes in others by focusing on the changes you need to make in yourself.

What doesn’t kill you, as a teacher, does make you stronger.  It makes you a better teacher, if you will let it.

  • Not meet your goals for state tests?  How will you change and do things differently to change this next year?
  • Have difficult situations to face at your school?  How will you be different and rise above these challenges and push through them in order to be a better teacher for you students?
  • Have students that you did not handle well last year?  What will you work on to help you do change the dynamic with similar students in the years to come?
  • Was classroom management an issue?  What are you learning, reading, or working on to help you change this?  You set the tone and the attitude in your classroom.  How are you going to do this differently from now on?
  • Have issues with coworkers or other people in the learning community?  What are you going to do to make a difference in these relationships?  What can you do?  Who can you go to for help?

Unmet goals and difficult circumstances will not kill you.  If you let them, they will make you a leaner and meaner (figuratively speaking) teacher from this point on.  Hold up the mirror to yourself and start making the changes you can make.  I know that you can.  I know that you will.

You are awesome!  Keep surviving.  Keep letting each new challenge make you better than before.  You are amazing!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…The picture at the top of the page  is of the Survivor Tree at Ground Zero (World Trade Center) in New York.  This tree was the only thing left standing in the aftermath…and it is thriving today.

Posted in Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Theme Song

Monday Morning Motivation: Here Comes the BOOM!


Dear Teacher,

For the last two Mondays, I have really striven to give you some motivation and get you pumped up for the week ahead.  I have been posting theme songs for you to play while you read, and this has been extremely popular and well-received.  I have loved doing this myself, and I the theme songs have stuck with me through the week.  So, I think I am going to stick with this new trend I started.  I have a week of training that I am excited about; it is training about poverty and brain research that I think is going to give a new edge to my teaching next year, and this song sums up how I feel about it.  Play the song before you read on.  It is an awesome song and a pretty funny video (you may want to watch it after you read, if you have never seen it before).  Also, it is the theme song for the movie, Here Comes the Boom, which is a movie that centers on a teacher that is committed to the needs of students (namely the Arts Program).

(Disclaimer–if you have never heard this song before, there is a lyric you may think is saying something that it is not…the line is “big S.D.” for San Diego…not what it sounds like the first time you hear it.)

Teacher, you are awesome.  This week is yours to own.  Don’t let this week happen to you, happen to this week!  Make a plan and stick to it.  Follow through.  Set a goal to accomplish something big, work at it, and accomplish that goal.  You can do it!  Tell this week that the BOOM is coming and you are the one bringing it!

No matter what you have ahead of you, you’ve got this.  You are amazing.  You can get through anything.  You can do anything.  You can achieve anything.  You can do anything and get through everything, if you set your mind to it.  Set your mind to it and do it!

For those of you teaching right now:

  • Get your plans together…make them happen.
  • When things get off plan, monitor and adjust like a champ.  You can make anything work.  Roll with the punches that come, and punch back with your skills, experience, and abilities.
  • Know where you want your students to be at the end of the week and get them there.  Use what ever you need to use to get them there.  You are awesome and know what to do.  Do it.
  • DO NOT let the little things get to you.  Stay calm, stay patient, and stay in charge.  You are a professional and you know what you are doing.  Rely on the fact the that little things do not mean much in the big picture.  Work around them and do not let them get you frustrated.
  • Love your students above all else.  Knowing and caring for your students is the most important thing you do.  Encourage them and tell them how much you care.  Tell them how awesome they are and why they are awesome.

For those of you on summer break:

  • Don’t let the summer get away from you.  Make a plan to accomplish something this week and then accomplish it.  It can be for school or otherwise, but do something this week.  Get something done.
  • Read one thing to help you do even better next year than the last.  Find a good article on teaching/education (Edutopia is a great source, my current favorite).  Read a book.  Find something.  Hone your craft this week, Teacher!
  • Come up with one new goal for next year.  Find a new place you want your students next year or a new strategy to try.  I gave a similar challenge yesterday.  It is so important to set new expectations for yourself to rise to higher heights and become an even better teacher!
  • Plan a lesson or unit for next year.  Don’t put it off.  Plan to do something for next year this week.  The more you do now, the better off you will be next year!
  • Make a plan for getting to know your students and other teachers next year and plan ways to spread encouragement and hope. I know a good place that you can find notes to print and write on!  🙂  Know how you will get to know people and spread the Encouragement Revolution next year!

You are so incredibly awesome!  This week is yours for the taking.  Take it!  Make it yours!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…While I am at a training this week, I need your help.  Please share this link in your Edmodo communities and groups, share on Facebook, share on Twitter, and where ever else you can!  Spread the encouragement because I can’t!  Thanks!  You are awesome!  🙂