Posted in Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance, Reason for Teaching, Reflection

It’s Grow Time

Dear Teacher,

Happy New Year!  And so a new one begins, huh?  I am not sure what this school year has been like for you so far, but you have a fresh start to the second half.  What are you going to do with it?

Image: Wikipedia

I can’t help but think of a new year as a seed.  It is something that is up to you on how it will grow.  Like I teach my students whenever I teach my unit on plants, seeds stay dormant until they have the right conditions to grow.

I moved into my current classroom and curriculum three years ago.  In one of the drawers, I have many as a science teacher, I found a bag of beans.  I had no idea how old they were and decided not to use them….until this year.

Image: Wikipedia

This year, I went a little “grow crazy” during the plant unit and tried to plant as much as I can using the big grow light set-up we have.  I remembered those seeds.  I did the germination in a damp paper towel thing, and despite the age of the seeds, they still germinated!

I planted them, watered them, and let time and nature do the rest.  As I said, I grew several things all at the same time.  I was disappointed that, though many things flowered, nothing came to fruit…or so I thought.

Another teacher came to observe in my room and we got talking about my plants and how the plants flowered by nothing else.  He knows a lot more about growing than I do, and he started looking through them.  And he found something…on the bean plants.  He found little bean pods.  Not only did they grow, they produced more seeds!  I was disappointed in the size until some students and I started looking through the plants and we found large bean pods!  It was a cool moment for this science teacher who is bad at growing stuff!

(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)

Though the beans were who-knows-how-old, they were still dormant and waiting for the right conditions to grow.

Why did I share this story?

Teacher, you may have had a rough school year.  Not much may seem to have happened for you or your students.  You may have seen nothing but seedlings so far…or worse, you just see empty soil.

Do not give up!

You have a fresh start coming up!

Your seeds may still just be dormant.

You just need the right conditions for growth!

I do not know what growth or the right conditions look like for you, but you do.  What will it take to make that happen?  What do you need?  What do you need to focus on?

Stop whining about what is going wrong this year and work on what is going right!  Give yourself and your students the light, water, and nutrients needed for growth!  Reflect, regroup, and regrow!

(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)

You can do it!

You know what it takes!

You have what it takes!

It time to get growing!

It is grow time, Teacher!

You are awesome and I know you have what it takes to get things growing this year.  You are an amazing teacher.  You are making a difference.  Don’t give up!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher


Posted in Best of Dear Teacher/Love Teacher, General Inspiration, Guest Post

The Best of Substitute Teacher Guest Bloggers

Dear Teacher,

Today’s post is the best of the guest blog posts by “Substitute Teachers.”  I was away for almost two weeks, and I asked a few people to post in my stead.  They did a wonderful job and there were amazing posts while I was gone!  I enjoyed reading and applying what they wrote!

I am going to use today’s post as a little plug.  I am looking for help in two areas.  I would love to have a collection of “Substitute Teacher Posts” to use when I am unable to write and to possibly to a weekly guest post.  I am looking for people who might like to write some words of encouragement, hope, and/or challenges.  Some teacher testimonies, stories from the trenches of teaching where encouragement and hop made a difference, would be awesome, as well.  You don’t need to be a blogger, you just have to have something to say!  Email if you are interested:

The second plug is another requests for stories or words of encouragement, but this is stories about teachers that you have had in the past that made a difference.  I want to collect thank you letters to former teachers and/or stories about how what they did and how they taught made a difference in your life.  I think we could learn so much from reading stories and letters like this!  I want to post these stories from time to time, and if I get enough I would love to think about putting a book together.  Would you like to be a part of this?  Please?  🙂  Use the same email to let me know your interest, or just send me your letter or story.  I am going to start by posting my letter soon!

Okay, now for the posts.  Read a few and share the one you liked the most!

Which one is your favorite?  Why?  Since you liked it, share the link with others and spread the encouragement!  🙂

You are awesome!  No matter what the week has been like, today will be great.  Make it great.  Keep moving and keep teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…I am going to officially stop sharing the link in the Edmodo communities (I am only going to share in the Dear Teacher/Love Teacher group there from now on).  It is never more important than now for you to share Dear Teacher/Love Teacher with others.  Share where ever you can and spread the encouragement revolution!  By the way, you can share in the communities, I am just not going to.

Posted in Challenge, Guest Post, Homework Assignment, Hope for Teachers, Reason for Teaching

Substitute Teacher Subway Station

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

Dear Teacher,

As you may have noticed, the last week and a half on the blog has been guest posts by other people.  I have taken a break from school and school-related activities and others have stepped in as “Substitute Teachers.”  I am very grateful for the work they have put in to writing and promoting their posts.  They have done a great job!  Thank you, Substitute Teachers!

For reasons that I will bring up tomorrow, today is the last day of my hiatus from blogging (and teaching/planning).  I decided to make today’s post a “clip show” of the Substitute posts so that you have a chance to read and see something you may have missed while I was out.  This post is like a “subway station” of the guest posts.  I am also going to make this a quick and easy homework assignment.  Read at least three of these posts, pick your favorite, comment on it, and then share it (Facebook, Edmodo, Twitter, etc…).  I will be nice and not assign a due date.  🙂

Enjoy and share the hard work of my Substitute Teachers!

Alright, don’t forget to do your homework!  I hope you enjoy each of these as much as I have!

Teacher, you are so awesome!  You are going to do something great today, if your are still teaching or on summer break.  People with the teacher’s heart do amazing things every day…and you are one of those people.  Go out there and awesome the heck out of today!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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

Posted in Challenge, Guest Post, Take Care of Yourself

The Take Care of You Challenge

Dear Teacher,

I am happy to present Substitute Teacher Laura.  She has an awesome blog and her post here is amazing…so I will let her just speak for herself!  Enjoy!  And check out Teacher Laura’s blog!

Dear Teacher,

IT”S SUMMERTIME.  Summer is a time for rejuvenation and I am ready to be rejuvenated.  I have just experienced one of the most difficult years in my 20 year teaching career and I am so thankful it is over.   I am ready to put 2012-2013 school year behind me and look ahead to summer and I bet you are too.

It is summer and it is time to take care of YOU.  Teachers are so busy during the school year that we put off everything we need to do until the summer, like dentist and doctor appointments, cleaning and de-cluttering, reading good books, eating right and exercising and so much more.  I am here to give you a summer to do list that includes relaxing and reading.

1.  Get a Massage.  The first thing you should do when you finish the school year is get a massage. A massage is perfect way to begin to de-stress and relieve your muscles of tension.

2.  READ.  Stop at the library or bookstore and make your reading list.  This is important.  There are so many good books out there that you need to make sure to read the books that matter to you.  Be a Booksnob like me and read what YOU want, not what others tell you to read.  Summer is a time to be a little selfish since you spent the whole school year give yourself and your time to others.

I, myself am an avid reader and a book blogger for the last three years so summer reading is super important to me.  Here are some of the books on my To Be Read List this summer.

         A.  The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver.  This book will be released on June 11th and is already the talk of book bloggers.  Noa P. Singleton is a 20 year old on death row in Pennsylvania.  This is a thriller that promises to keep you turning the pages.  I’m so excited to read this.

B.  Ask the Passengers by A. S. King.  Young Adult fiction.  I have been wanting to read a book by A.S. King for a long time. This book is on my camp readalot book list.  It is about a teen named Astrid who spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions

        C.  Reclaiming Youth at Risk. Our Hope for the Future.  I teach in a very diverse inner city high school.  This year our staff has joined together to form book groups to read a book that will inform our teaching practice.  I chose to read this book.  I am very excited to read it.  I have met one of the authors, Dr. Martin Brokenleg and really respect his work.

      D.  A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks.  Autobiography.  This is the Minneapolis One Read book this fall and all of my high school seniors will be reading this as part of one my classes.   Gordon Parks was the first African American to write, direct and score a Hollywood Film.

E.  Steal Like an Artist. 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon.  I love to be creative.  In fact I am creative but sometimes, I forget how to include creativity in my daily life.  This book is awesome, I have already started reading it and it has started to work its magic on me.  Watch out world.  My creativity is flowing.

3.  Take Naps.  Seriously your deserve it.  Catch up on your sleep.  This is so important to de-stress and rejuvenate.

4.  Go to the Beach.  Enjoy the sun, sand and water.  Soak up the vitamin D.  Play a little.  Bring a book to read.  I spend my summer birthday at the beach every year and I can hardly wait to go.  The sun has been missing from Minnesota almost all Spring, so when the sun does shine, I will be going to the beach and so should you.

5. Travel.  Visit some place new.  See the sites in your hometown or plan a trip out of town.  It doesn’t matter where you go, or what you do as long as you are having fun and experiencing life.  I love to visit places close to the Twin Cities and learn about my hometown.   Ride your bike or take a hike.  Go see that waterfall or visit one of your State Parks.

7.  Try something new:  Learn something new.  Take up ball room dancing.  Try Geocaching.  Go camping.  Take a class at ITunes U.  Watch a few Ted talks, start a new TV series and watch all of it.  The possibilities are endless.

8.  Exercise.  Believe it or not this helps get rid of stress and helps give you energy.  I try to exercise during the school year but usually other things are more important and exercising gets pushed to the back burner.  Now is the time to enjoy the weather and free time by exercising. So get out there and take walks with your dog, run, ride your bike, play your Wii or Xbox Kinect and get your body moving to the music.

It will make you feel better and it is important that you feel good.  

9.  Enjoy your summer and your time off.  You deserve it.  You worked very hard all school year.

Thanks for all your hard work.  Now go and enjoy your summer.

Love Teacher

You can find me on my book blog this summer.  Visit me at Booksnob

Thanks for letting me be a guest writer at Dear Teacher/Love Teacher.

P.S.  That is my dog Titus.  He is modeling how to chill and relax.

Posted in General Inspiration, Guest Post, Hope for Teachers

A Teacher “Prayer”

Dear Teacher,

Anonymity is popular among my Substitute Teachers.  Today’s post is from another veteran teacher, to whom I tip my hat.  You teachers who have kept at this for decades, I salute you!  I hope to be one of those “decades” teachers one day!

This message is short, sweet, and perfect for a Monday.  Please enjoy and apply!  Have a great week!

Dear Teacher,

I came across this “prayer” many years ago.  I’m not sure who the author is.

Enable me to teach with


for I help to shape the mind.

Equip me to teach with


for I help to shape the conscience.

Encourage me to teach with


for I help to shape the future.

Empower me to teach with


for I help to shape the world.

Whatever your beliefs, Teacher, I think it’s a great reminder to us.  May we all teach with wisdom, truth, vision, and love.  The stakes are high! And not just for testing and standards. Our words and actions help to shape our students’ minds and consciences.  We help to shape the future and the world!  What an awesome job that is, Teacher!  It’s awesome in the many meanings of the word “awesome”!  It inspires awe to think of our responsibilities and potential.  But it’s also awesome and great thatwe (yes, us, Teacher!) have been given this opportunity.  How amazing is that?

Have a great day, Teacher!

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

Posted in Guest Post, Pep Talk

Courage and Trying Again

Dear Teacher,

Today is another anonymous Substitute Teacher.  This teacher has been teaching for a long time, as well, so I think think the words are worth listening to!  Experience and time are great teachers, especially for teachers!  This is a short, but powerful little message that is good for every day of the week…though, I think it is great on a Friday!  Please read and take heart, and then have an awesome weekend, Teacher!

Dear Teacher,

I love to collect quotations.  They help to motivate and inspire me.  I like to share them with my students too, in the hope that my students will also be motivated and inspired by them.  Here’s one I like.  I find it especially comforting after a rough spot in my teaching.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” — Mary Ann Radmacher

It’s important to remember that teaching is more like a marathon than a sprint.  We’re in this for the long haul.  It’s what our students need from us –someone who will keep coming back, day after day, trying again and again until we find the strategies that work with each new class or student, wearing down those students who may try to test us, and modeling for our students that it’s important to be committed to things that are important (as they are!).

You are awesome, Teacher!  Thank you for all the great things you are doing!

Love, Substitute Teacher

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

Posted in Challenge, Guest Post, The Power of Creativity

The Imagination Box

Dear Teacher,

The Substitute Teacher for today has also requested to stay anonymous.  This post is great.  It is a challenge.  It is encouragement.  It is a reminder to think outside a “box”…well, actually to think inside a “box”…okay, maybe you should just read it and see what I mean.  🙂

Read, enjoy, and apply it to your teaching vigorously!  Thank you for sharing this with us, Substitute Teacher!

Dear Teacher,

Today you are being given a very special item.  It may not look like much, but trust me, it’s value is truly priceless.
This unique gift is for recollecting your creativity.  Over time and frequent use your creativity box has been searched through, dug around in, and dumped all over everywhere.
It has been a well loved go to, or maybe a forgotten asset, but it is time to haul it out again.  Take advantage of the gift of your creativity.  Find things to put in your box that will inspire you, motivate you and make you laugh.  A teacher’s creativity is a vital tool.  It is what makes your lessons stand out, your activities fun and your students interact willingly.  
Stock your box with all the things you love and cherish the most.  Spend some time investing in your creativity every chance you get.  Your creativity is part of what makes you the amazingly awesome teacher you are!
Go on now, start hunting!
(c)DearTeacherLT (You may use this picture if you link back to this blog.)
(c)DearTeacherLT (You may use this picture if you link back to this blog.)
The box specially designed to expand exponentially with your imagination,
Have big fun loading it up!
Love, Substitute Teacher
For more hope and encouragement: @DearTeacherLT (Twitter) and Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Facebook Page.
Posted in General Inspiration, Guest Post, Pep Talk

Just Keep Moving (in the right direction)

Dear Teacher,

When I asked people to volunteer to be Substitute Teachers while I am “off the grid,” I had a lot of great responses!  I am so grateful and honored by that!  Teachers were more than willing to pay forward the encouragement and hope that they have received from people and from this blog.  However, something interesting came from the request to for people to share, and it was a response to something that I have done with this blog that I did not think people noticed or cared about, but they did and do (you might, too).

I have made strides to try to keep this as anonymous as possible.  Why?  I want the message here to be separated from it being just a person trying to encourage other people.  I want it to be about teachers encouraging teachers.  We are in this together, and it is not about a person or personality.  This is one of the reasons I am using Substitute Teachers instead of just setting up a bunch of my own posts to go up while I am away.  This is teachers encouraging each other.  Teachers looking out and caring for their own!

I say all of this because some of the Substitutes have requested to stay anonymous, like me.  Their reasons are the same as mine.  I appreciate that, so I am honoring the request.  I will only share what I think is important about each…and today’s Sub has one thing I would like you to know about her.  She has been teaching for 26 years!  I am honored to have such a veteran post here!  We can learn so much from those teachers who have been doing this for a long time!  I love learning from people who have been doing this for a long time.  Read this morning and learn with me.  🙂

Dear Teacher,

I subscribe to Gretchen Rubin’s* Happiness Project blog and her “Moment of Happiness” daily e-mails.  Recently, this Oliver Wendell Holmes quote was the thought of the day:

“The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

This quote reminded me of some experiences I’ve had in teaching.  Often at the end of the year I can be discouraged or disappointed by all of the things that didn’t go as well as I’d have liked, or all the ways that I wasn’t as great a teacher as I’d have liked to have been for my students.  We teachers want so much to do awesome things for all of our students, but that task can sometimes be impossible to fully achieve.

Then I remind myself that no one is perfect, and that the important thing is wanting to be awesome and being committed to always getting better, becoming a stronger and more effective teacher. After my first, most difficult year as a teacher, I promised myself that I would always work to get better each year, and that as long as I kept that commitment, I would just have to be accept the fact that I hadn’t been the perfect teacher. As Holmes reminds us, it’s the direction we’re moving that is most important.

One of the best things about teaching is that every year there is a fresh start and a new chance to be even better and more awesome for a new group of students.  Summer is a great time for thinking about ways to hone our skills. What great ideas would you like to put in place with your next group of students?

You are awesome, Teacher.  You are committed to improving your professional practice, and that’s awesome!  High five!

Love, Substitute Teacher

** Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home.

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