Last Friday, I accidentally kicked off a theme that carried through for a week. The challenge of changing the world. When I wrote it, i did not know that it would resonate with people so much…one of those people being me. It has stuck with me this week. The idea that we, especially we teachers, can change the world is a powerful idea. Not only is it powerful, it is true.
Anyone person can change the world. Teachers have a chance to multiply their change almost exponentially…only the change is done person-to-person and one student at a time. You, me, and every other teacher needs to realize this. It is really what we do. It is a part of the job, It is really part of the focus of what we do. We influence students. We help them to learn, think, and stand on their own.
Students’ personal change while they are in our class, that change that will allow them to face a world that does not yet exist, is the goal. The content is not the goal..though it is the medium through which we teach the skills they need for the world ahead of them…it is the means to the end, not the end itself. We are planting seeds for the future, and the subject and details we teach are just the outer layer of the seed.
Students. They are our “clients.” They are who we work for. They are the concentration area of our job. They are the center of the plans we make for what we do. They are the end goal of our work. They are the work we do. Pure and simple. Students are the change the world needs. We help them learn to be that change. Period. The end. Students.
So…we change the world by focusing on students.
The hardest part. We wait. We wait for the world to change. We wait for the seeds to grow. We wait for the plant to mature. We wait for the adult plant to spread seeds of its own. It is the life cycle of plants. It is the life cycle of teaching. It is the life cycle of world change.
It is more than waiting though. When I say that we wait on the world to change, I am not talking about waiting like in the John Mayer song. It is not sitting back and waiting for something to happen. It is not waiting for the world to change itself. We, as teachers, don’t wait that way…and we should teach our students not to wait that way.
We proactively wait. We keep digging. We keep planting more seeds. We keep working on changing the world. We influence more and more people. We connect with more and more students (especially the difficult ones). We keep on going day after day after day. We never give up trying until start seeing some change in some way every where we look.
We work to cause the conditions of change. We wait for change. While we wait, we cause more conditions for change. We wait. While we wait, we…well, you get my drift here. We keep going.
The world WILL change. You are a part of it. To quote from the Kid President song I shared last week, “The world can be better, and you’ll be the cause.” Change is coming. We just have to work and wait….and “keep going, keep going, keep going.”
You an agent of change for AWESOME…because you are awesome. Keep going. Just because you don’t see change, it doesn’t mean that it is not happening. You are doing what it takes! Keep doing what you do, you amazing teacher, you! Keep going. Keep on teaching, Teacher! Oh, and keep going (did I mention that?)!
Don’t give up. That is basically all that I want to tell you this morning. Just don’t give up. Don’t stop.
I know that the weight of teaching is heavy. We push and push, but the push back is often more intense.
We can see what our students need more than they can. You know your students. You know how close they are to understand what you are teaching them. You know how close they are to becoming more complete self-learners.
But the resistance makes it hard to keep moving.
You are beat up. You are tired. You are exhausted. You have very little left to give.
It would be easier to drop back and punt…you can try again another day.
Don’t stop. Don’t give in. Don’t move back. Keep pushing. Keep going!
You don’t see it from where you are, but you are so very close to success with your students. You see how close they are, but guess what? You are SO CLOSE to getting them there. I know it is hard, but don’t stop!
Find your reserves. You have some hidden energy and strength left. Find it. Use it. You are seriously almost there. Just give a little more. You can do this. I know you can because you are awesome!
Two of my favorite quotes of all time are from Thomas Edison:
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
You are on the verge of success. A miracle is on the horizon. Chase it. Go for it. You are almost there! Push on. Further on and further in. You’ve got this, you amazing Teacher, you!
Take on the the attitude of Edison today. Don’t give up. Don’t let apparent failures stop you. Failure never means you can’t do something, it just means you need to keep trying and find some new ways.
You don’t have to stop. You have this. You are close. Keep going and keep moving forward!
Your students will watch you, they will learn to do the same thing. They won’t give up and snatch defeat from the jaws of looming victory. They will keep trying until they get it…just like they saw you do.
Don’t give up!
You are an amazingly awesome teacher! You have what it takes. You have the strength and fortitude. Prove it today! You will see success, so keep pushing on and keep on teaching, 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!
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!