Posted in Challenge

#morethanscores


Dear Teacher,

Following up from yesterday’s post and in the midst of all of the news about decisions being made about education on a national level, I think it is time to start a encouragement revolution!  We need to encourage each other and our students to remember that we are more than scores, and we need to encourage the public and the powers-that-be that education is more than scores!  We need to talk up the positive things happening in our classrooms and schools that are not tied to test scores.

That said, I am not sure if the hashtag has been used, but let’s make #morethanscores our battle cry.  We have to remember it is more than numbers.  It is more than what can be counted.  It is the hearts and future of the children that we teach.  It is the future of our country.  It is the future of our world!

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

Please join me in reminding everyone that it is #morethanscores!

You are awesome!  You are amazing!  You are more than scores!  Never stop teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers

To Be a Teacher…


Dear Teacher,

I am sorry that my words of encouragement have been few and far between this year.  It has been a rough and busy school year.

But I guess that this is not news to you.

As I talk to and get feedback from other teachers, I am hearing the same thing from them.  It is a tough year.  There is no time.  It is all that I can do to keep my head above water.

We are all just trying to survive this year, aren’t we.

It isn’t easy for any of us, even the most veteran teachers.

This school is is just plain difficult.

I have some good news and some encouragement for you today.

The Good News:  For most of us, this school year is half-way over!

And there was much rejoicing.

The Encouragement:

You know what takes to be a good teacher.  Nay.  You know what it takes to be a GREAT teacher.  You know because you are one.

I know that this is a trying year.  There is so much extra on your plate.  There are so many curve balls to contend with and handle.  There is just a lot of…well…everything this year.  It is not easy to let your greatness show.

But, you awesome teacher, you, know what your students need.  You know what is best.  You know how to reach and teach even the most difficult students in your class.  You know what it takes to get your students where they need to go.  You have the knowledge and the know-how!

I have four words for you: Stick to your guns!

Stay true to the teacher that you know you are.  Sometimes that means having to fight battles over what is best for your classroom.  Sometimes you just have to go through the motions of the extra that you are asked to do.  Sometimes you need to let a few of those unneeded plates drop (you know all of those many plates that you have to spin for the sake of spinning and not for the sake of the precious ones in your class).  Sometimes you just have to stand up for what is right.

It is not always easy to do, but you have to remember who you are there for…your students.

I know, there is voice after voice after voice telling you the best way to do your job.  Sometimes those voices are right.  Sometimes you are already doing a good job and can afford to put some voices on mute.  Have the courage to do that.  Find the voices that count, but don’t forget your own.

Be courageous and do what needs to be done today.

Make your students your goal.

Remember them today.

Be strong.

You can do it!

(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 and I completely believe in you!  You have what it takes to do what it takes.  You are making a difference!  You are strong and courageous.  I know that you will make choices today that will help your students be everything that they can be!  Keep going!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Challenge, Change the World Challenge, Reason for Teaching

The Speed of Change…One by One


Dear Teacher,

Okay, I found some time to write a post.  I like writing posts more than just doing a picture message like the one I did this morning…though they are fun to do.  I did not think I would find the time to write, but I finally did.  And I found some really cool inspiration that goes right along with my theme this week!  We, you and I, need to change the world.  Teachers can do it.  We need to!

I was reading through some blogs this afternoon, and I came across this message of connecting with students.  It was so perfect.  This teacher’s message went hand-in-hand with my challenge from last Friday.  I gave us all the challenge, myself included here, to change the world by changing our own world, changing students’ worlds, changing other teachers’ worlds, and changing the worlds of those around us, outside of schools.  (How have you been doing with this, by the way?)  The blog post I read today hit one of these nails right on the head.  To change the lives of students we have got to connect with them!

I know what you are thinking…”Duh!  Everyone knows that!”

We do…but do we really?  Really, really?  Really, really, really?

Our actions show what we truly know…or at least believe.

We might know that we need to connect to students, but if someone were to really judge us by our actions would they think that we really and truly believe that it is vital to connect with students?

Take that honest look in the mirror.  What is the answer to that question?  And I am not talking connecting with some students.  I mean trying to have a connection with every student you teach, at least on some teeny, tiny level?

Is that even possible?  To connect with every student?

I think so.  But it is hard work.  You have to be purposeful.  You have to try…every day.  Find a way to connect.  Find a way to build rapport.  Find a way to earn a voice.  Once you have that voice with a student, USE IT!

Talk to your students.  Tell them the truth.  Help them to know what they need to work on.  Tell them how smart they are.  Teach them how to use that smart.  Help them use it.  Help them build confidence until they act like they know they are smart and capable.

Change your students’ world:

  • Connect
  • Build a Bridge
  • Cross that Bridge
  • Change a Mind
  • Change a Life
  • Change the World
(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 can do it.  You can connect with every student.  You can be an agent of change.  You can make a difference that lasts a lifetime.  Know you can do this.  Act on that knowledge.  Start tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this).

Challenge for Today (whenever you read this): Make a purposeful connection with three students today.  You can do it!  Will you?

You are so amazing!  You are so awesome!  Do it…change the world by changing your students’s world.  The speed of change is slow because it is done one person at a time.  Start making those changes now!  You can do it!  Keep on teaching and changing the world, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Challenge, Change the World Challenge, General Inspiration, Pep Talk

Change the World


Dear Teacher,

Last Friday, I gave you a (seemingly) impossible mission.  I asked you to change the world.  I have to say, I was overwhelmed by the response.  The idea really seemed to connect to people.  I know that it really connected to me.  I have been thinking a lot about the idea of what it takes to change the world and how I can do so as “just one teacher.”

For this reason, the weekly theme song (and theme for the week) is going to build on the post from Friday.  This week is going to be all about changing the world.  Are you going to ride along with me and help me spark some change?  Click play and then read on!

The world is a mess.  I think we all feel it.  Even the most optimistic among us have to admit that there is a lot wrong with the world at-large.  We know it is that way.  We know it, and our students know it.

Some of us, though, those optimistic ones I mentioned, don’t see the world as static.  It is dynamic.  It can change.  Pardon my nerdy-ness for a moment, but we at Earth’s surface are moving at over 1000 miles per hour as the planet rotates on its axis.  We are moving fast, this should remind us that the world does not stand still.  It is moving, it is changing, and the society world can move and change just as quickly.

So, the world can change.

If it can change, let’s change it.

Simple, right?

Maybe.

What would we do if we could change it?  Or what would we do if we could change our own little corner of it?  What would we want it to be like?  What changes would we like to see?

I think this would be debatable…thus politics and politicians.  There are so many differing opinions on what the world should be like.  Some religions are built around thoughts on what the world should “change” to be like.  This one of the hard parts of change.  Opinions and beliefs.

I think there is one area of agreement, for the most part, across the board.  We all wish the world was better.  We wish it were nicer.  We wish it were more encouraging.  It boils down to one thing…

Kindness.

We all wish the world, and everyone in it, were kinder.  Kindness is the key.  Kindness is the change that most people could come to a consensus upon.  Kindness is change that most of us can agree on.

There is something cool about this.  Kindness is the easiest change to bring.  Kindness is a change that spreads.  Kindness can be like a virus that goes from one person to the next.  The change that is kindness can start with one person.  Kindness is the kind of change that can start with you.

To start a revolution of kindness is simple.  Be kind.  I am not talking polite, well-mannered, or moral.  I mean kind.  Kindness that can only come from the heart.  It has to be genuine and true.  It has to not care about who it is aimed at.  Kindness is not “payback” for kindness shown.  Kindness is given freely and to everyone.  It is given especially to those who are not kind to you.

What kind of kindness changes the world?  How can you do it?

Show kindness to EVERYONE around you.  Do small things.  Say “hello” to everyone you see.  “Good morning.  How are you?” are two powerful phrases.  High-fives and smiles can change a person’s day, and they, in turn, will help change the day for others.  “Good job.”  “I like your shoes.”   “You are awesome.”  These are just words, but they are powerful words of kindness…doubly so when they are random and barely deserved.

Kindness is a feeling that is passed through action.  Kindness makes you want to be kind to others.  Kindness changes your perspective.  Kindness wants you to do better and be better.  Kindness is an agent of change, and we so often forget it.

So…you want to change the world?  Be kind.  Let kindness be the world that people think of when they think of you.  Let there be a drop of kindness in each of your footprints each and every day.

(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)

Your kindness will change people’s world.  They will be kind and change the world of others.  Those people will turn and do the same.  Before you know it, you (one person) have change the world!

So, how do you feel about this, Teacher?  I know that you do little acts of kindness every day.  You are a teacher, it comes with the job.  Can you be more intentional about it, though.  Can you be purposefully kind today, tomorrow, and from now on?

Today’s Change-the-World Challenge:  Give 50 high-fives.

Can you do that?  Let me add to it to make it a little harder…half, 25, of these have to be random and undeserved.  Oh, and make at least ten with an adult and not student.  Can you do this today?  I know that it sounds a little crazy, but I think you will see it causes a change in you as you try to do this, and I think you will see quite a reaction in others.  Want to give it a shot?

I hope you have a great day and great week.  You are so awesome!  You are changing the world!  You are an amazing teacher!  Keep on teaching and changing the world, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS… The “Kindness” poster/graphic is available as a part of a set of printable posters that is available to buy.  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 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.  Oh, and the posters are on a deep discount sale this week!  You have $2 to motivate students, don’t you?  🙂

Posted in Challenge, General Inspiration, Homework Assignment

Mission (seemingly) Impossible


(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,

Great Friday morning to you!  How are you doing?  Did you survive the week?  Did you thrive this week?  Somewhere in the middle?  Well, it is Friday, and, no matter what, you made it through!

This week I have written to you a lot about the overwhelming-ness of our profession.  I have talked a lot about focusing on what is important and letting some of the non-priorities sit on the back-burner.  Today, I am going to ask you to add something to your load and your “to-do” list.

Seems kind of hypocritical, I know.  Just stay with me.  I think this lines up with what I have been talking about this week.  I hope, at least.

I want to give you an assignment.  It is has four parts to it, but one main goal.  It is going to seem impossible, but I know you can do it.  I want you to change the world.

Yes.  Change the world.  I am pretty sure you can do it.  No.  I know you can do it.

I know you are one person.  I know the world is big.  I know the problems in the world are often looming just on this side of disaster.  I know you are just a tiny cog in the big machine of the entire world.  But you can change things.  I want you to do just that.

Let’s take a little movie break before I give the details of your assignment.  Kevin Spacey playing an awesome movie teacher in Pay It Forward does a much better job of explaining how to change the world than I can, anyway,

If you haven’t seen this movie, get it and watch it.  It is your extra credit assignment.  🙂

The theme of the movie is simple.  One person can truly affect the world and kindness will always win over the negative forces in this world eventually.  I know that it can seem a little idealistic, but I don’t think it is very far fetched at all.  Just like a pebble thrown into a puddle affects the whole puddle, the splash of one person being different than everyone else can cause those around them to change, those who were changed will change others, those people will change others, and so on and so on.

So, I want you to change the world.

“Okay. DearTeacherLoveTeacher, how do you think I am going to change the world?”

I am glad you asked.  It is time for your assignment.  Before you read the assignment though. play this song by the Kid President and then read while it is playing.  It makes a nice theme song for the assignment, AND he is one of the greatest examples of the pay-it-forward-attitude I have ever heard of!  I shared this song last Friday, but it is worth a second share.

Changing the World in Four Easy (slightly impossible) Steps

  1. Change Your World– Make a plan to do one thing to de-stress your school life.  Make a plan to do one thing every week that you can do to change your stress level at school.  It could be taking a break for for five minutes somewhere in the week and just breathing and remembering why you love to teach.  It could be taking one morning coffee break in the week when you are not thinking about school work.  It can be choosing one thing to “let go” each week that is a non-priority.  But this part of the assignment is a plan, and then you have to follow it.
  2. Change Another Teacher’s World– Make a plan to do one encouraging thing for another teacher each week, and it has to be a different teacher each week.  It can be hand-written notes (which is my favorite to do).  It can be to lend a hand in a time of need.  It can be a random act of awesome like bringing something in for a teacher (like chocolate or coffee).  Just do something every week for a teacher.  Try to get to everyone in your school throughout the year.  Just one a week.  You can do that!
  3. Change a Student’s World– Make a plan to do one majorly encouraging thing for one student a week.  Much like the teacher part of the assignment.  Do something like write a note, have a conversation that is not related to grades or content, give them a random piece of candy, something out of the blue.  This is not the normal things we should be doing, this is more over the top and random.  It is surprising how much this can change someone’s outlook.  You can be an over-achiever and do this for more than one student each week, but do at least one.  YOU HAVE TO PLAN TO DO THIS EACH WEEK.  If you don’t plan, it will fall to the wayside,  Jot a note for who and what to do on a sticky note each week or put a coded reminder to do this in your lesson plans.  You have to plan for it though.
  4. Change the World– Do a random act of kindness for someone outside of school.  This has to be big, random, and something that someone won’t forget.  I am talking Pay it Forward big.  Do something that will change how someone is feeling about people and the world.  Something they could not do themselves.  Then ask them to do the same for others.  Kindness will change the world.  It is the only way the world will get better.

After you have had some time to think, come back here and share your plans for 1-3.  Don’t share #4.  That one should be personal.  Don’t share it on the internet.  It is more for you and the person you help than for everyone.  If you talk to much about it, you take away from the kindness factor!  I do want you to share 1-3 so that we can all hold you to your plans.

Oh, and more extra credit…share this post with all of the teachers you know.  Give them this assignment.  Let’s change the world!

So, this is your mission, if you choose to accept it.  What do you think?  Are you going to change the world with me?

You are awesome.  You are changing the world already.  This is just a push to be more intentional in doing so.  I know you can do it!  You are amazing!  Keep on teaching and keep on changing the world, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…If writing notes is a part of your plan to change the world for teachers and students, there are some really fun printable Awesome Notes  that you can write on the back of in the Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  They are a big hit with teachers and students at my school.  The students love getting them and teachers love using them.  Just a little plug.  There are 10 notes in the mega pack, and there is a free sample of the notes in the store.  The mega pack is only $2.  They are not necessary for your assignment, just a fun little way to do it.  🙂

Oh, and the Kindness poster/graphic is available as a part of the Motivational ABCs Poster/Word Wall collection in the TpT store, as well.