Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Mondays, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance

[put your teaching heart in] Drive


Dear Teacher,

You know, what we do is amazing.  We are teachers!  We get to help students become the people they will be in the future.  We get to live in the teachable moments of every day.  It is a pretty great line of work!

DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

I have shared it before, but last year was a tough year for me.  I won’t get into it now, however it was a difficult year with students and then to top of it test scores might have been the lowest for me.  Even though I felt like it may my best year as a teacher after working through the challenges, I can’t help but wonder if it was a net loss of a year.  I don’t know.

I share that because I stumbled on a great song accidentally because of Twitter (by the way, if you aren’t using Twitter, you should be…I am working on a post on the whys…if you are on it, you should be following Sean Gaillard, Remind, Dear Teacher (of course), among many others!).  Through a random set of events, I was introduced to the music of Shayna Leigh and the song I am about to share.  When I heard it, I knew that I found the perfect song for the first theme song post of the new year!  That said, let’s get to the encouragement!

If you aren’t familiar with how theme song posts work, click play on the song (get through any ads if they play first), and then start reading.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.  Let’s go!

We are teachers.

We carry so much with us from day to day, quarter to quarter, and year to year.

All careers have baggage, but probably none more than being a teacher.

We invest so much of who we are into what we do.

Sometimes it can be hard to recover from the hurt of some of the hard times that come with what we do.

That hurt can weigh us down and cause fear from stepping out to far outside of the box or outside of our comfort zone.

We fight against that fear, but it always seems to be there.  It is just on the periphery.  It stalks us.  It taunts us.  Occasionally, it overwhelms us.  Other times it drives us to push forward and do more.

DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

The anxiety does not define us, but it does hang out around us.

Some days and years are worst than others.

But there is a way to drive it away.

And it is so simple that it is hard to do.

Remember.

Remember who you were when you started teaching.

You were nervous, but when it came to students you were fearless.

Remember that new teacher that was ready to set the world on fire and change the future single-handedly!

DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

That person is still inside of you.  That person is still you.  You are still fearless.  You still have the fire.

Rekindle that fire and remember.

  • You believed every student mattered and you acted on that belief.
  • You did not care what other people thought, you did what counted most for students.
  • You did not worry about test scores because what really made the difference was your connection with students.
  • You focused on the teaching and learning process individually, not what you were being told worked best for all.
  • You let love and care for each of those people in your room drive your instruction and behavior.
  • You believed that what you did with each child truly made a difference.
  • You had confidence in yourself and your gifts/skills as a teacher.

All of those things are still true.  That never stopped being true.  The baggage of prior years and yesterdays mistakes do not define you.  Your drive and love for students does…and that is still there.  Remember it today!

Teacher, drive back to where you started.  That is where you live as a teacher.  And that is what will get you back on your feet to try again.

You are an amazing teacher!  Never forget that!  You are making a difference and what you do does matter!  It matters more than you know!  Keep on believing in yourself and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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Posted in Challenge, Choose Positive, General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Mondays, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk

The Surefire Way to Make Any Day Better (especially Mondays)


Dear Teacher,

We all have bad days.  We all have good days.  And we all have lots and loads of mediocre days that are just kind of “eh.”  That is just the way life goes, teacher or not.

I know I am stating the obvious, but the good days tend to be the ones we enjoy more.  Duh, right?  We get more done.  We are happier.  We feel more accomplished.  But the good ones are not the majority of the days of our lives…life gets in the way and chokes out days from being memorable, let alone good.

We are busy – so much to do and so little time.  So many responsibilities to stay ahead of as a teacher.  There is school life.  There is home life.  The needs of your family.  The needs of your students.  The needs of you.

Not to mention, bad stuff does happen to good people.  The smallest thing can send us in a downward descent from the pursuit of good days.

Stuff happens.

DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

It is not reasonable to think that most days can be good.  That is not realistic.  And perhaps it is one of the reasons that good days are so good…they are rare and a treasure to find.

I get that.  I do.  I have been around long enough to know that it is true.

But…what if we could make any day better?

I am not saying make every day a great day, but I am saying you can make any day better.  You can make bad days better days.  You can make “blah” days less, well, “blah.”  AND you can make good days great days!  Bonus: it isn’t even hard to do and it is pretty much a guarantee (most of the time)!

I can make any day better?  Please, do tell, Teacher.  What is this simple way to make every day better?

Yes you can and yes it is very simple.

Get ready for it.

Here it comes.

Drum roll, please.

You can make any day better by making someone else’s day better.

I bet you have heard this before, but it is true.  I can tell you from personal experience from practicing it in life, running this blog for the last couple of years, and using social media that helping others be encouraged, happy, or just less sad has the same effect on you as you do it.  And it does not matter what kind of day you are having.

When you reach out to others, it does something inside of you.  It lets you see a little more color in the world.  It helps you to take the blessings and curses in your life in a different way.  It gives you a fresh look at the world.  It makes you more glad for the things that make you glad and less sad about the things that make you sad.  It makes you feel, um, better, even if you where already feeling pretty good.

If you make a practice of trying to find ways to make the day better for other people, you’ll discover that most days are pretty good or close to really  good.  It’ s all about perspective.  It is about seeing life as more than just about you and what is going on in your life.  It is about being better to other people.

DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

The cool part is, the people whose day was made better turn and do the same for others.  Sometimes you even get to see Pay It Forward kind of miracles happen around you, especially with other teachers at school.

So what are some of the ways I can do this?

That is the best part, there are as many ways as there are people in the world…but I will give you a few ideas to try today.  These are the ones I try to practice most, especially on bad days:

  • Smile more.  Smiling does something inside of you that makes you feel a little happier, and the people you are smiling at feel a little better, too.
  • High-fives.  More high-fives.  Kid President talks about this often.  “Let’s live in a world with more high fives.”  I have been poked fun at for it before, but high-fives to make people feel better and helps you take yourself a little less seriously.  Give at least 10 high-fives today…I bet you will smile a little more (back to Thing 1 🙂 ).
  • Tell someone how awesome you think something they are doing is.  This one is guaranteed to make all involved feel better.  Have a conversation with another teacher about something you think is amazing about how they teach or interact with students and ask them about it.  Hey, this one counts as personal PD, too.  Score!
  • Write a note to someone just letting them know what you notice and like about them.  This one is great to do for other teachers and students.  I have written to all of my students and other teachers at the school in the last couple of years (over time…not all at once).  People really appreciate that.  I find that when I did that for the most difficult students (or teachers) it helped me appreciate them more and helped build rapport and relationships.  Write a note to a fellow teacher that needs encouragement today and one for a difficult student.  Even good days get better with this one!
  • Write a note to yourself.  This one is best on bad days.  Write about what is going right.  Write about how you are making a difference.  Tell yourself a joke to make you laugh.  Remind yourself of what makes you a good teacher and what you should be proud of about you.  Keep the note and make yourself read it from time to time.  Days will be made better, I promise.
DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

There are many, many more, but this list will get you started.  Little things make the most difference.  I shared a video from Remind in the last post that was about the small things that teachers do that have the biggest effect on students.  They refer to it as “teaching small” and have an initiative called #teachsmall.  I love this concept so much, because it is so true.  I will talk about it in a future post (because my mind was blown by the idea), but I bring it up now because making students’ and other teachers’ days better are one of the small things that we do that are so important.

teachsmall2
Image Source: http://www.remind.com @RemindHQ

When you are having a better day, students are more connected to you and learning more.  Other teachers having better days has the same effect for them.  Most of all, when students are having a better day because of the influence of teachers, real learning happens and the world and future is changed for the better.  So teach small today, Teacher, and make your day and world better.

You are an amazing teacher, even on a bad day!  I know you try to make the best of every day…keep on doing that!  You are making a difference.  You are changing the world, I promise!  Keep on making days better and keep on teaching, Teacher!

DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2015 (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!, Hope for Teachers, Mondays, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance, Theme Song, You Are Awesome!!!

[Sometimes Teachers Have to Be] Titanium


Dear Teacher,

How was your weekend?  I know a lot of teachers are coming off of or going into Fall Break, if they are lucky enough to have that where they teach.  Mine is this week, so I am starting a three-day school week.

So how are  you doing this year?  From talking to people and my feedback through the blog, it sounds like many teachers are having a rough year.  What about you?  How is it going?

This year has been good, rough, and just plain interesting for me.  I don’t think you would believe half of the stories that I can already tell just from the 2014-2015 school year.  I can tell you that I am worn out, tired, and a little beat-up.  I know that I am making progress with my students, don’t get me wrong, I am just exhausted.

I have a feeling that you might just feel the same way.  For that reason, today’s post will be a special one.  I haven’t done one of these in a long while, but I think it is time to dust off the Theme Song Post.

If you are new to this blog, you might be wondering, “What is that?”

I pick a theme song for you to listen to while you read the rest of the post.  I hope that it serves as a theme song for your day or week.  It usually sticks with me for the whole week when I do these.

Anyway, click play and then read on…

Teacher, you do one of the most noble, yet challenging, jobs in the entire world.

Unfortunately, it feels more challenging that noble most of the time.

First of all, you work with a room full of students everyday (or several groups of students throughout each day).  That is a challenge in of it self.  You have to know your students.  You have to know what they need.  You have to figure out how to get them to work together.  You have to get them to learn how to learn.  You have to teach them specific content.  You have to…well, you get the point.  This would be a list the size of the internet if I put everything that you need to do on this level of teaching.

Add to that, you have to deal with student issues, behaviors, and struggles.  You have students with bad days.  You have students who don’t get along.  You have students who have IEPs.  You have students that are ESOL.  You have students with BIPs.  You have students that come from environments that do not reinforce what you are teaching.  You have students who are lacking the skills with which they should have had before getting to you.  You have students who need to learn some social skills that are lacking.  You have students who can’t sit still.  You have students on multiple levels of abilities.  You have students who don’t care.  You have students that care too much.  You have a thousand other specifics here.  You have more than a handful of things to think about besides what you teach at any given moment.

On top of all of this, you have voices and critics from the outside.  There is administration telling you how to teach and not teach.  You have teams and other teachers giving advice on how you can better reach your students.  You have parents giving you feedback on what they feel like you are doing wrong.  You have district level people changing the expectations for you left and write.  You have the state making curriculum changes that wildly affect the students that sit in your classroom.  You have an ever changing landscape of standards to muddle through.  You have the world of education with the ever-growing list of best practices, current theories/strategies, and 21st century skills that you just have to incorporate into your classroom and instruction.  You have a million different directions that you are being asked to go everyday.

And then there is you.

All alone.

In your classroom.

With your students.

And you are awesome.

In all of this, you chose to have one focus, and one focus only.

Your students.

You know that it is those young minds that matter most.

And you make it work.

You do everything that you can do to protect your students from all of the other stuff.  You are the umbrella that covers them.  You are the shield.  You are their cover from the mess all around them and you.

Teacher, you try your best to be bullet-proof.

But it is not for you,; it is for them.

I want to encourage you, friend.  You are doing the right thing by focusing on the students before all else.  You are making good choices.  You are making a difference.

I know that it is hard.  It is really, really, really hard sometimes.  But keep going.  Keep fighting.  Keep doing what you do.

It is difficult to be made of titanium, but sometimes you have to be.  I know that you know that it will be worth it for those students sitting in your desks in your room.  Don’t give up.  Don’t stop.  You are an amazing teacher!  I mean that.  I really do!

You are so awesome!  You don’t always feel that way, but it is so very true.  You do what needs to be done for students.  This is why you are a great teacher.  Don’t forget that!  Never stop!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Hope for Teachers, Mondays, Pep Talk, Theme Song, You Are Awesome!!!

[Teachers] Like Us…


Dear Teacher,

Welcome to a new week.  For the N. Hemisphere, the summer is about half over (or getting there).  The new school year is looming ever closer…and the great teachers are slowly starting to gear up for it.

For this reason, I decided that it is time to dust off the old favorite of my posting genres and put up a theme song for the week post.   I went looking for a song, and did I ever find one.  I think this song (and video—sans the product placements) is one of the best teacher theme songs ever.  I may adopt is as my theme song for the new year!  We’ll see.

For those new to this blog, click play and read on.  When you are done reading, you may want to go back and watch the video.  It is pretty cool if you think about it in light of our role as teachers.

Teacher, your job is hard.

Few people, besides fellow teachers, understand what it is like.

What we do is taxing all on its own.

Teaching and teaching how to learn while balancing the needs of individual students and their families is not a simple task, but it is one of the most important in the world.

We have a lot to think about.

We love a challenge, and our profession is full of them.

On top of this, though, we are also beat up and blamed for many of the woes of society.  People that do not understand what it is that we do make the choices about how we are to do it.  When things don’t work out, who gets credit for what is wrong?  Yup.  Us.

Yes, Teacher, your job is hard.

But you wouldn’t trade it for the world…most of the time.

Even when you are going through the toughest time in your teaching life and everything inside of you is telling you to quit…except that one small voice that tells you to go on.

Teaching is your blood and you know it is what you were made to do.

That one small voice is a powerful one.

The cool thing is that there is not just one small voice.

All great teachers have that small voice that urges us to go on.

The voice screams and reminds us why we do what we do.

Our students…the children…the young adults…the future.

When we see the faces, when we remember the challenges that will face those faces one day, we have the small spark to get our fire going.

And you are surrounded by other teachers with that same voice and that same spark.

Teachers like us are all around.

And when the fire that burns in all of us burns together…we are a force to be reckoned with.

I am not talking about the world and legislation and banding together over that…that is another story for another blog.

I am talking about being a force against the challenges of being a great teacher for our students, no matter what is said or done on the red tape side of teaching and the hardships that we face.

Teacher, no matter what you have gone through as a teacher, you can get back up!

You are surrounded by teachers like you to help you up.

The small voice inside of you is a crowd and a mob that is all around you.

Just look up.

Just keep going.

Teachers like us will make a difference.

Teachers like us will change the future for our students.

Teachers like us will keep going and keep our students going.

Look around.

Teachers like you are all around.

Keep going, Teacher!

Keep that fire going!

Do it for you.

Do it for your students.

Do it for and with teachers like you!

You are awesome!  Keep going, Teacher, and keep on teaching!

Love, Teacher

Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Mondays, Note to Teachers, Picture Note, Poster/Graphic, You Are Awesome!!!

Big City Monday


Dear Teacher,

It is Monday.  The start of a new week.  It is a fresh beginning.  You have arrived at the dawning of something that has never been before…this week.

Sometimes a new week of teaching can feel like coming to a big city for the first time.  It is overwhelming.  You know about the city and know where you need to go, but stepping on to the sidewalk can make you have to catch your breath at first.  It is big.  It is here.  It is real.  You have never navigated these streets before, and now you are here walking them.  It can be a bit much, but you keep walking.  You keep going.  You find your way.  You make it through.  You make it possible for yourself to get better and learn the places you need to go.  You press on until it is not a big deal anymore.

A new week can be very similar.  You know what is coming up.  You know some of what to expect from the week.  You also know that there are new challenges that await that you haven’t been made aware of yet.  If it is a big week, like state testing or something of that sort, it is even more daunting.  You go over in your head what you need to do, where you need your students to get to, and all that you have to get done.  Now it is Monday morning, and you are about to step into those streets.  You have to brace yourself and make yourself keep walking.

Deep breath, Teacher.  You’ve got this.  Step out.  Keep going.

You greet the week with all that you have.  You have done this before.  You have conquered other “big city” weeks.  This one will be no different.  You will do what you need to do.  You will get your students where they need to be.  You will take everything in stride and keep walking.  You will keep going.  You will survive.

This week has nothing on you.

Nothing.

Big cities are awesome.  Weeks can seem awesomely daunting.  But you are awesome-er.  Your awesome is bigger than the biggest city and the most difficult weeks.

You’ve got this.

Step out.

Keep walking.

(c) DearTeacherLT2013  You may use this image only if you link back to this blog and give credit to this blog.  This note will be available soon at the Dear Teacher TpT Store.  Find notes like this one by following the link.
(c) DearTeacherLT2013 You may use this image only if you link back to this blog and give credit to this blog. This note will be available soon at the Dear Teacher TpT Store. Find notes like this one by following the link.

You are awesome, for real!  You are amazing because you do keep going.  You know what your students need and you get them to succeed.  You are making a difference.  Keep walking and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Get Psyched!, Mondays, New Day

Rock Star


 (c)DearTeacherLT2013
(c)DearTeacherLT2013

Dear Teacher,

Ten

You are a rock star waiting in the wings of the stage for your moment in front of the crowd.

Nine

This is Monday…your big show.  This show sets up every other show this week.  Mondays mean more than any other day.

Eight

You are ready.  You’ve got this.  You are rested and ready to go.

Seven

You have planned and prepared.  You have nothing left but to execute your lessons.  You can do this.

Six

No matter what the day brings, you are a professional.  You know what to do.  Get ready and get out there and do it!

Five

You know your best laid plans will be mostly derailed by lunchtime, but you are ready.  You have back up plans.  You have a system in place.  Don’t think about what can and will go wrong.  You do have this.  Don’t worry!

Four

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  It is almost go time.  The students are ready for you.  Get your mind ready for them.

Three

No matter what happens today, you are awesome.  You know that you are.  Through all of the monitoring and adjusting, remember to be the awesome that you are!

Two

Get amped up!  Get psyched!  You live for this!  Get your teaching game face on!

One

Ready or not, it is time to go!  You are a teacher.  Teach like you know it.  Teach like your mean it!  You were born for this!

Image: Wikipedia

You are awesome!  You are believed in!  Go out and teach like you know you can!  Keep teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

For more hope and encouragement: @DearTeacherLT