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(I wanna see you be) Brave

Dear Teacher,

Good morning!  Ready or not, a new week is here.  Whether you are at the beginning, middle, or end of a school year, Mondays can be rough.  They are especially difficult if you are feeling the grind of the work that we do.  This is why I do my Monday posts.  This is why I give you a theme song for the day and week.  Sometimes I have a good idea for the song I want to use and words to write to go with it, sometimes it just comes together when I go looking for a song.

This morning I had a song and words in mind, but then when the search for the song began something else happened.  I found a song I have never heard that is amazing…and the message from the song is timely and needed by me, so I figure other people are in the same boat.  I hope so, it is always weird when the message is just for me!  Anywho, for those who know the deal, click play and read on.  If you are new to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher, click play, get past the ads, and then read on.

If you have time, watch the video again after reading.  It is a pretty inspirational video, at least it was for me!

Teacher, you stand out in a crowd.  Not because you want to, it is more because you have to.  You stand in front of a group of students every day.  You are in the spotlight.  You lead a group of people that need you to make choices that affect their future.  It is quite overwhelming, if you think about it, but you take it in stride.  It is what you are made for…it is what you do and want to do.

Embracing your role, though, doesn’t make it any easier.  And it is coupled with many other aspects of your job where you have to make choices that put a bulls-eye on you.  You have to fight curriculum battles.  You have to work on classroom management.  You have to answer to parents.  You have to answer to students.  You have to answer to administration.  You have to answer to your department.  You have to answer to your team.  You have to answer to your district.  You have to…well, I think you get the point.  You know this.  You are front and center for everything that you do and say in your classroom and beyond.

You have a lot of hats.  You play a lot of roles.  You do so many things, yet you have the heat of eyes staring at you constantly as you try to make the right decisions day after day after day.  You are, like the video, dancing in a crowd of people who are all trying to figure out what you are doing and why.

Sometimes, with all of that, there is pressure to put on a show.  There is the temptation to just do what is expected and never be outside of the box.  Even when you know that your students need more, the cop-out path of just following the status quo is always in front of you.  It is a way out.  It is an escape.  If you take that route, you can just blame the system if things do not pan out.  “I was just following orders” is so much easier to say than “I took a risk, it did not work out, and I am sorry.”

Teacher, I know you.  You know what is best for your students.  You know what they need and how to push and challenge them to bigger and greater things.  You know the risks, but you also see the rewards.  You know when to step out.  You know when to speak up.  You know when to take a stand.  You know all of these things…all you need to do is be brave and do them.

I want to see you be brave.  I want you to speak the truth.  I want you to make the choices that make your students better students and better people.  I want you to take the risks you need to take and reap the rewards that come from them.  I want to see you be brave.

Rest assured that the system usually comes around to the brave ones.  There were many teachers using technology before it was the expectation.  They had to defend their choices constantly, and now look at the world of education–the things that once seemed strange is the norm.

There were many “common core” teachers before Common Core was even a thing.  They had to defend and stand up for the way that they were teaching.  Science teachers had to defend the amount of reading and writing that they pushed.  English teachers had to give an account for why they thought informational texts were as important, or even more important than novels.  They fought and held their ground, and look at what the world looks like now.

Teacher, keep doing what you know is right.  Keep what is best for your students in sight.  Don’t be afraid to be brave.  Be brave today.  Be brave this week.  Be brave this year.  I just wanna see you be brave!

You are awesome.  You are amazing.  You are brave.  Be these things today!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…For those who are into Pinterest, there is a Pinterest contest that ends next week.  See the second half of this post from last week for details.