Posted in Dream Big, Facebook Page, Thank You!, TpT Dear Teacher Store, Twitter Feed

Practicing What I Teach


(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.)

Dear Teacher,

Good morning!  Well, last month and yesterday I encouraged you to celebrate the little things about your teaching and students to help you stay focused when the going get tough.  When I first posted about this, I celebrated some of the “little things” about this blog, but I did not yesterday.  I really need to.  Now that I am in the heat of planning some big dreams for next year, trying to find fresh ideas to write is not as easy.

As a teacher, I am encouraged and all but required to be a data analyzer (it helps that this a part of science, and I am a science teacher).  So when I look at the numbers for the blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Teachers Pay Teachers store, I tend to get to discouraged when those numbers are not growing consistently…which is the same thing I feel about student test scores and grades throughout the year.  The lack of growth adds to the stress of coming up with new and innovative ways to spread encouragement and hope to you and to others through you.

I need to stop stress and remember why I started this whole thing and then take a look at the numbers from that perspective and start having some little (and big) celebrations over those things.  I have only been doing this for about six and a half weeks, and the growth of this blog and encouragement movement in that little bit of time is phenomenal!  I need to just keep doing what I am doing and not care about the numbers!

That said, let me celebrate some of the “numbers” and good things that are going on with Dear Teacher/Love Teacher…

The Blog:

  • In just 6.5 weeks (1.5 of them I was gone for), the site is approaching 19,000 views…that is insane in such a short time!  Thank you for reading and sharing!
  • The Homepage/Archives, along, has had nearly 3,000 views!  That is huge!
  • One post, Why (Did I Become a Teacher)?,  has had 700 views by itself!  It was one of the guest blogs during my sabbatical time from the site.
  • The Thank You Note You May Never Get is another post that is nearing 700 views (and growing a little more each day)!
  • Two other posts have over 550 views!  (Friday of Awesomeness and The Eye of the Teacher…er…Tiger)
  • The blog itself (not counting Facebook and Twittter followers) has 79 followers (33 bloggers and 46 through email).  This does not count RSS followers, because I am not currently tracking that.  This is an amazing number!  Thank you for following and thinking this is important enough to follow!
  • There have been 279 shares so far (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, and WordPress Blogs)!  That is a big part of the success of the blog, your shares!  Thank you so much for sharing the encouragement with others!  That is kind of the point of this whole thing!

Facebook Page:

  • In less than a month, there has been 133 Likes for the Dear Teacher/Love Teacher FB Page!  Thank you!
  • The number of likes almost tripled over the weekend because of people sharing!  Thanks so much!
  • The FB page has allowed me to share other forms of encouragement besides blog posts, and that has given me some freedom from the stress of new ideas for the blog.  This is quite great for me!

Twitter:

  • There are currently 61 Twitter followers!  Thank you for following!
  • Twitter has given me new ways to connect with you and for people to share what is going on here!
  • I have also been allowed to find a great deal of sources to share with you to help give you hope, encouragement, and challenges to make you a better teacher.  I have enjoyed getting to know Twitter a bit!

Teachers Pay Teachers Store

  • Getting this set up and learning the ropes has been a slight challenge for me, but I think I finally have it figured out!
  • The Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Store is now officially re-opened!  It is a place for you to get some real resources to help you be a source and conduit of hope for teachers and students at your school and where ever you go!
  • All of my picture messages up until Tuesday (I think) are now available as a free resource at the store!  They are the original images that you can use to print and share with other teachers!
  • I have created an “Awesome Note” that comes in a variety of sizes (both b&w and color, too) that you can print and use to send messages of hope and encouragement to those who need them.  This is on sale for $1 for a limited time!
  • These are the only two available items right now, but I am working on more!

Well, all I can say is thank you!  This has been an amazing ride for the last six and half months, and I look forward to many, many more!  Thank you, again, for supporting and joining this encouragement revolution!

You are so awesome!  I am honored to help encourage you as you give out your awesome to others!  You are an amazing teacher.  As always, keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…

Here some quick encouragement for you, since my post probably encouraged me more than you!  🙂  Thank you, Teachers!

 

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Posted in Pep Talk, Reflection, Take Care of Yourself

Celebrate Teacher Times, Come On


Dear Teacher,

For those of you on summer break, what have you been up to so far this summer?  I have had a little break, as you know, but now I am back to work…at least the planning part of our job.  My school is emphasizing planning over the summer, and understandably so.  For this reason, this has been a week of intense planning for me.  After a few days of hardcore planning like this, I feel very worn out.  I don’t know how that goes for you, but it can get exhausting for me!

Or are you still in the let-last-year-fade-away phase of summer?  It was a great year, or not so great, and you just need to let the memories slide away and relax a bit so that you can be ready for the next one.  This is an important part of the summer.  We can not carry all of the stress (good or bad) from last year into next year.  A part of summer is to unwind so that you can get wound back up again.  It is vital to your teaching heart to have a little time to let last year go!  You have been emptied out and you need to fill back up!

To those teaching right now (especially the Southern Hemisphere-ers), how are things going for you?  Are you still in the easier times of the year or is it the nose-to-the-grindstone time when the students are not as excited to be in school and you have a million things to do?  Are you still pumped up and enthusiastic about all that you have to do?  Or are you tired, beat up, and on the edge of burn out?  Are you just somewhere on the roller coaster in between the too extremes?

Where ever you are in all of this, it is important to remember not to sweat the small stuff.  Almost a month ago I posted about this and encouraged you to celebrate the small stuff.  Today’s post is just a reminder to do just that!  All of the little things that annoy us, wear us down, and beat us up little by little (including those held over from last year) can become a mountain that eventually falls and crushes us.  We need to build a retaining wall against them…and we do that by celebrating all of those little things that are great every day, week, month, and year!

Another way to look at it is to think of the motivational poster I shared yesterday.  As teachers, we really are a buoy in the water there to guide, protect, and lead our students to where they need to go.  It can be lonely and hard as the “small stuff” comes in as waves and beat on us.  The thing about buoys like the one in the poster, though, is that they are held in place by an anchor.  Celebrating and remembering those little things that go well can be the anchor that holds us in place!  The waves can come, but we know why we are there and why we became a teacher.  To lead the way for a brighter future for our students!

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

So…

Summer planning teacher:

  • Celebrate what you have already finished!
  • Throw a party for the work you will not have to do during the year because you did it now!
  • Toast the great things that your students will be able to accomplish because you worked so hard to plan for them!

Summer relaxing teacher:

  • Celebrate those small changes you saw in your students throughout the year, especially the more challenging students!
  • Throw a party for the growth that you see in yourself as a teacher!  You are an even better teacher than you were at this time last year!
  • Toast the accomplishment of a year well done, no matter if it was your best year, your worst, or somewhere in between!  Teacher, you made it and now you are on the other side!

Teacher in the throws of teaching:

  • Celebrate those things that are going right!  What is working well for you right now?  Those are awesome!  Celebrate them!
  • Throw a party for those students that are truly connecting to what you are teaching!  This is why you do what you do!  Have a 10 second party for these kids once in a while!
  • Toast the things that you have been able to notice that are not working and you have changed to teach your students better!  How have you monitored and adjusted to improve student learning?  Here’s to those things!  Cheers!

Teacher, celebrate!  Dig that anchor in deep and the sweaty small stuff won’t affect you as much!  The celebrations are important.  You need them.  Don’t forget to celebrate a little something every day!

You are so awesome!  You are a great teacher!  You are making a difference!  I truly believe in you!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Choose Positive, Hope for Teachers, You Are Awesome!!!

Celebrate the Small Stuff!


Feel free to us this picture, but please link it back to this blog.
Feel free to us this picture, but please link it back to this blog.

Dear Teacher,

We, as teachers, are really, really, REALLY good at one thing…sweating the “small stuff”.  It is in our natures.  It is who we are.  It is a job requirement.  There are countless details, issues, and expectations that we juggle and balance ever second of every school day.  It is a part of the job, and we know this.  We take the “small stuff” seriously!  Sometimes, though, all of the little things overwhelm us and fall on us like a land slide…or at least this happens to me.

It has hit me recently, that I need to work against that happening.  I need something in place to keep that avalanche from overtaking me.  I need a retaining wall to keep my mountain of “small stuff” at bay so that it does not collapse and smother me!  And I accidentally found a way to do this…ironically, it involves using the little things to my advantage.

A stone or brick retaining wall can hold back a lot of dirt and sediments.  These walls support a hill so that it does not erode and fall apart.  The stones or bricks are stacked in a way that retain what ever is behind them…thus the name retaining wall.  🙂    However, one or a couple of bricks/stones do not do the job.  It takes a lot to have a wall.  Compared to the hill, one brick is small.  But an army of bricks can tame that hill and hold it back.

We need a retaining wall to hold back our millions of small things so that we can survive each day, especially when those things are teetering on the brink of falling down on us.  How do we do this?  We take some of our small things and build that wall that we need.  We need to celebrate the “small stuff”!!  We need to reflect and find the small things that we have succeeded will and have a mini-party and remember them throughout the day.  We need to bind a bunch of these together, see that we are making progress, and use them as motivation to keep chugging away and moving over our mountains of little things.

What can you celebrate today?

  • Find something in each of your students, or a difficult handful, that you can look at and see growth…and then tell them that you are proud of them for it.
  • Look at your to do list and be happy about the few things that you have gotten to-done.
  • Ask a colleague to tell you something that they see in you that is going well, and offer the same feedback to him or her.
  • Fix one thing you can fix today, fix it, and then let yourself smile about it.
  • Reflect and find one or two things you can be really proud of yourself for right now, and let yourself be proud…don’t let humble yourself out of a celebration.

These are just a few suggestions, can you think of more?  Please share if you come up with some cool things that me and other teachers can look to and celebrate so that we can all start building our walls!

I will practice what I preach right now.  Let me celebrate some of the “small stuff” about this blog that has happened in the three weeks since I have started:

  • There have been almost 8000 views in these three weeks!
  • Last Friday, there was almost 1000 views to the blog in one day!
  • The Homepage/Archives have been viewed over 1000 times!
  • Last Friday’s post, Friday of Awesomeness!,  had over 500 views, and most of them were that day!
  • There are 41 blog followers and 26 Twitter followers!
  • The blog and blog posts have been shared over 100 times!
  • One of my Tweets was favorited by @iamkidpresident.
  • There is now a Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Facebook Page.

I need to let myself feel good about these achievements!  And I need to thank you for making them happen.  Thank you, Teacher!  You are awesome!

Now, it is your turn!  Start celebrating your “small stuff” and build your wall!  I know you have a lot to celebrate because you are a great teacher, and you are AWESOME!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Oh yeah, do not forget to do your homework!

I will close with a video of a science teacher having a personal dance party…watch and enjoy…it is funny and fun even if you don’t teach science!

Love, Teacher

For more hope and encouragement: @DearTeacherLT (Twitter) and Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Facebook Page.