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

Wake Up Everybody (teachers and students, too)


Dear Teacher,

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

I think I know.

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

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

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

What do teachers need this week?

Hope.

Hope.

Hope.

Hope

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

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

What is hope for a teacher?

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

Students are our hope.

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

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

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

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

Remember your hope.

Your hope is your students.

Remember your hope this week.

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

Students are your hope.

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Teacher

 

Posted in Pep Talk, Theme Song, You Are Awesome!!!

Choose Your Theme Song…


(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,

I don’t know about you, but I am swamped with a million things to do and time to do about one or two.  So, blog time is kind of on the back-burner at the moment.  For that reason, today I going to be a little different.

I am going to link a whole bunch of my theme song posts, and I want you to pick your favorite, come back here and share which one you like most and why, and then share your favorite post in your social networks.  Tomorrow I will look at the comments and the stats for the posts and declare the “All-Time Favorite Theme Song Post.”

Who’s in?

Alright, well, check out a few, pick your fave, come talk about it, and then share the link with your friends.  Which one do you think will win?  🙂

Which will be your theme this week?  Why?  Share it!

You are awesome!  I know you will rock this week.  I hope you found a theme song to help you rock it harder!  You are amazing and you are making a difference.  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use this picture if you link back to my blog.)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use this picture if you link back to my blog.)
Posted in General Inspiration, Pep Talk, Theme Song

(you’re gonna hear me) Roar


Wake up and roar!  (c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
Wake up and roar! (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,

Monday again.  Get pumped up.  You’ve got this.  Today is yours.  This week is yours.  You are a teacher…Mondays are your day to shine!

For that reason, you need a theme song.  You need to let this week know that you are coming.  It is time for the “You” show.  This theme is your song and your introduction to the week.

I have your theme ready, but this week is going to be a little different.  Before I let you click play, I have something for you to read first.

I knew what song I wanted to feature this morning, but when I went on a video search I came across a cover of this song, and an amazing, heart-breaking, and inspiring story.  I decided that even though the music side of this version is not as powerful, the story behind this one makes this version a thousand times more inspiring,  I think as teachers, this one is going to make us face the week even more courageous than we would have without reading, seeing, and hearing it.

I want you to read this before playing the song.  It is the description from YouTube.  It tells the story of Olivia Wise.  It tells why this song was recorded and presented on YouTube.  Please read and be inspired.

Olivia Wise has Brain Cancer. She came into a recording studio for her first time and recorded the Katy Perry song Roar. She couldn’t walk or stand, she didn’t have her full breath or the energy she used to, and she was managing her new pains and new limitations. While her physical condition was rapidly fading, her spirit remained untouched.

Olivia is a fighter and has gone through the fire, in fact, she was going through the fire while she recorded this song, but you wouldn’t know it, because she was dancing right through it. She is an inspiration, a champion, and my hero. This is her Roar.

To donate to the Liv Wise Fund: http://www.livwisefund.com
To donate to the Liv Wise Fund:http://my.sickkidsdonations.com/perso…
or Phone 416-813-5320

Here is a CNN story about her and her recording of the song.

I am not sure what I can say after this story.  I am not sure if I need to say anything.

What worries you?

What stresses are you dreading this week?

What pressures are you feeling?

What makes you anxious?

Do these things matter in the grand scheme of things?  Do they need to own your energy and patience?  Do they need to master you?  Do they need to break you this week?

What is most important?  What matters most?  What deserves your time and energy?  What deserves you and your life?

Focus on what really matters.  Focus on your students.  Focus on your fellow teachers.  Focus on your family.  Focus on what helps you be there for others.  Focus on you (in a good way).

After hearing what others are going through and fighting through, it really gives us perspective on ourselves.  Really, what is it that truly matters?

What is the big picture?  What, if we think about it, won’t matter later?  Can we let those things go?  Can we at least put them on the back burner?

I want to challenge you this week to let some of the stress go.  I want you to think of what your students need, need of you, and need you to be.  Put your energy there.  Spend your time there.  Let those things take your attention.  If other things go, or at least make them wait.  You will never regret putting your students and their learning first.

I think you will do more than not regret it, you will thank yourself for it later.  So will your students.  So will the future.

Focus on people this week.  Be there for students, teachers, friends, and family.

Don’t let the weekly pressures choke out the space you need to have for others.

Have the eye of the tiger.  Be louder than the lion.  Stand firm.  Let this week and the stress that comes with it hear you roar as you keep your priorities straight and you make a difference.

You are a champion.  Prove it.  Show it.  Roar!

You are amazingly awesome!  You are capable of not letting this week rule over you.  You won’t let it.  You will let your focus lie where it should.  You are going to roar!  I know you will!  You are a great teacher, so of course you will!  Be great and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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

Freedom [when you let it go]


Dear Teacher,

Great Monday morning to you!  I know, there are very few times in the thick of the school year that we view Mondays as necessarily great…we are often being pulled from every angle and feeling like we are ten seconds from being ripped into pieces.  Monday only makes it worse because we look forward to the pulling starting over fresh and new.  It doesn’t have to be this way!

How do we keep ourselves together when everything wants us to fall apart, especially on a Monday?  That is what today and this week’s theme song is all about.  The best part is that I get to share one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists with you, and you probably have never heard of him or the song.  Get ready to be a fan.

Click play and read on (just in case you are new and didn’t know 🙂 ).  When you are done, you might want to go back and watch the video.  It is pretty cool.

Teacher, you have so much on your plate.  You have things that need to get done.  You have expectations to meet.  You have classroom management issues to deal with.  You have parents to call.  You have plans to plan and implement.  You have profession development to go to and show evidence of using and applying.  You have test to write, give, get data from, reflect on, and plan to use to differentiate and raise student achievement.  You have books to read, papers to grade, and Common Core to implement.

You have people constantly looking over your shoulder telling you what to do and who to be as a teacher.  You have parents who don’t think you are handling their child correctly.  You have administration analyzing your every word and move in the classroom.  You have curriculum specialists giving commentary on every strategy and technique you use and giving you tips and pointers on how do do things differently.  You have ever changing district, state, and federal mandates and standards that are to be followed to the “t” with little variation.

You have a life outside of school.  You have pressures from other places.  You have family.  You have friends.  You have a life…at least you try to have one.

You have students.  Students who need you to be more than just a implementer of plans.  They need you, the person.  They need your heart, soul, and mind to help them navigate through the storms of life and education.  They need a mentor.  They need a teacher.  They need you.

Students are why you do what you do.  Students are the key to education.  Students are the ends and the means.  Without them there are no standards, tests, data, professional development, or lesson plans.

Students are the heart of it all.  Students are your heart.  Students are why you are where you are.  Students make you a teacher.

You are pulled and yanked in a thousand directions every day.  You feel that weight the most on Sunday nights and Monday mornings.  The waves of the life of a teacher are constantly trying to pull you under.  The current is strongest at the beginning of the week.

What do you do?  How do you combat this?  How do you go against the flow that wants to drag you down?  How can you make a Monday feel great and something you look forward to seeing?

One word: STUDENTS,

We have to learn to to be brave enough to run into the flames of the fight to let every decision we make be completely centered on our students.  We have to train ourselves to let things go for the sake of our students.  They need to be the answer to every question that starts with “Why did you…”  Students, their hearts, and their minds need to be key.  Few people know them like you do, and you need to stand up and say what you think will work best for them.

It is hard, though.  It is hard to let go of some of the anxiety and fear of not meeting the expectations of others.  Not meeting deadlines.  Having to answer those hard “why” questions.  I can’t tell you how to do this for you.  I can tell you, though, that it is worth it.

I have been teaching long enough to know that expectations, standards, and mandates change.  The current of education moves with the latest and greatest ideas and research, but often it is a circular pattern that always comes back to best practices that have been around for a long time.  Tap into that and you will see that it always comes back to some of the same themes.  Follow those themes and you can keep up with the changes (I will try to write about some of those themes later).

I am not saying to rebel or not follow guidelines and mandates.  I am definitely not saying that.  I am just saying that you will start to remember why you love being a teacher when the students return to being your focus for all that you do.  And if you get off from the expectations set for you, make sure that your answer has something to do with the specific needs of your students.  That is what is key and paramount.

Let go of the fear.  Let go of the anxiety.  Let the students be the reason for all that you do.  Make them the goal.  Open up your heart and mind to letting them come first.  You will start to feel the freedom that comes from that.  You will see that everything comes back around.

You may have to answer questions or be “fussed” at from time to time.  Don’t let that worry you.  One day, when a student comes back and tells you the influence you had on them and how that changed their life, what are you going to remember?  Are you going to remember the lecture you were given or are you going to remember why you became a teacher?  I think I know the answer.

Let things go and let yourself make choices in your classroom and with your time that come out of love and care for your students.  I promise, when you let it go it will come right back to you.  You will make it through and be a better teacher for it!

Don’t be afraid to let go!

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

You are awesome!  You are making such a difference in the lives of your students.  Keep going.  Don’t act out of fear but act out of love and concern for your students.  You will never regret it!  You are amazing!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…In case you missed the announcement yesterday, I am very excited to announce the Motivational ABCs Poster/Word Wall now available in the Dear Teacher/Love Teacher TeachersPayTeachers Store!  Check it out, if you haven’t had the chance!  The image above is one of the printable posters in the set.

Posted in Pep Talk, Perseverance, Poster/Graphic, Theme Song

Standing Outside the Fire


(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,

Well, I am a day late, but it is still early in the week and I bet we could all use a theme song for it…especially those who had a day off yesterday.  So let’s get to it.  This song is going to be a “blast from the past” for a lot of us, but for some it may be the first time to hear this song.  Whether it is new to you or a reminder of more youthful days, this song is a great theme for teachers and one we should hear and think about.

Click play, get through the ad if there is one, and then read on.

Teacher, like it or not, we are heroes.  We fight battles, we run into danger, and we do the impossible.  If not literally, we all do this figuratively.  We take on the world of our students and help them through it and get them to the other side into adulthood and the future.

Not all teachers take this seriously.  Some teachers look at this as more as a job than a calling and desire.  They come in, survive the day, and put up with their students.  They tow the line.  They don’t step on toes.  They teach what and how they are told to teach.  They do little connect to students and see the student as the goal…the content is the goal and teaching it is success.

These teachers “stand outside the fire.”

That is not you, Teacher.

You dance within the flames.  You take what you do and what you are in stride and with confidence.  You know teaching is more than, well, teaching.  It is connecting.  It is getting to know your students.  It is understanding your students.  It is understanding the teaching and learning dynamic.  It is teaching skills outside of your subject area.  It is taking risks.  It is being bold.  It is being brave.  It is taking on the fight and being the hero that your students need you to be.

You are not content with the status quo.  You are not happy with just teaching your standards.  Your students need more.  You need more.

You are not afraid to step on toes when it comes to the needs of your students.  You know what they need, you know how they learn, you know what they are capable of and their potential.  You make choices for them, not for who is watching.

You get to know their families.  You help their parents and guardians know how to help them learn more at home.  You allow their family input on ways to help the student in the classroom.  You make it a team effort and don’t try to do it all on your own.

You look for help from the teachers around you.  You are not afraid to try new things in your classroom.  You look around and see what is working and not working and then seek out strategies from others for whom things are definitely workings.  You are not afraid to change.

You are also not afraid to reflect.  You take a look at students and what they seem to be learning and not learning, and then you make adjustments in you and how you are teaching.  You look at data.  You are not afraid of data.  You let data help you make instructional choices because it gives you a view of what your students need.

You are one of the great ones, Teacher!  You do not stand outside the fire.  You are in the thick of it.  You are dancing around with the flames jumping all around you, and you love every minute of it!  You are a hero.  You are a teacher.  Your students need you!

You are awesome and amazing.  Your “fire dance” is making a difference.  You are making a difference.  Keep on teaching and keep on running into the fire, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS …The poster/graphic this morning is one of a line of printable posters that I created and made available on the TeachersPayTeachers Store. They will be called “Motivational ABCs.”

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, Pep Talk, Theme Song

What a Wonderful World


Dear Teacher,

For me, this school year has been a little bit of a whirlwind.  Each week is like a raging river.  Once I step into it on Monday, I am whisked away and before I can catch my breath, it is Friday!  I know my posts have been down to once a week, but hopefully there will be more places I can stop and rest in the weekly rivers soon.  I hope to find time to post more often.

That said, it is Monday.  Click play (get through the ad, if there is one) and read on.  Oh, and after you read, go back and watch the video that goes with the song.  It is pretty awesome!

As teachers, it is so easy to get caught up in what we do.  We plan, we grade, we plan, we work on classroom management issues, we plan, we have meetings, we plan, we have after school responsibilities, we plan, we call parents, we plan, and we plan.  Did I mention that we plan?

In all of the busyness of what we do, it is so, so, so very easy to get overwhelmed, over-stressed, and over-burdened.  On top of that, so often what we plan seldom works as we planned, and we are constantly monitoring and adjusting.  We become tired, burned-up, and burned-out.  We forget why we love doing what we do because we are so busy doing what we do.

Today, I challenge you.  Take a moment, someway and somehow, and come up for air.  Take a breath.  Take a look around.  Remember why you are here.

Look and see the beauty of the world around you.  See the beauty of teaching.  See the beauty of learning.  See your students as beautiful minds in training for the world of the future.  See your students as people.  See them as humans.  See them as needing you.  See them as beautiful.

Forget the stress.  Forget the timelines.  Forget the ebbs and flows of the day.  Remember you are here for one beautiful and amazing reason…to teach, to help your students learn, and to grow and see growth.

The exchange of teaching and learning is a beautiful thing, and it goes both ways between our students and ourselves.  Learn something from your students today.

There is also the beautiful world around you.  Take some time to enjoy it.  Stand in the sun.  Watch the rain.  Smell a flower.  Have a tasty cup of coffee.

The world and teaching is beautiful.  Take some time to remember that today and this week, and then share that beauty with others.

You are awesome!  You are a beautiful human being about the beautiful business of teaching and learning.  Don’t forget that!  Keep on teaching and keep remembering to take the time to see that beauty around you, Teacher!

Love, Teacher