Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance, Poster/Graphic, Reflection, Thank You!

The Thankful Teacher

(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,

I was going to take a break from writing over Thanksgiving break, but I had a rough day on Tuesday (the last day of school for me before break) so I have been reflective.  My reflections have been some thoughts that I really feel like I should write down.  Writing helps me process them and will make them real to me.  I decided to write them to you because, maybe, you are going through something similar and need some similar encouragement and thoughts.

This is one of those times that I am writing to myself and letting you listen in.  Eavesdrop away, Teacher.

Too often I let myself get wrapped up in the actions, behavior, and/or attitude of one or a small handful of students.  I let this small cluster change my day and change my attitude because of these students.  I let this affect how I am feeling and change my behavior, actions, and reactions towards other students and my coworkers.  I let this make me feel like a failure.  I let this make me feel like a bad teacher.  I let this make me doubt my choices the led to becoming a teacher at all.

These feelings do not last long, but they are nonetheless real.  The feelings do affect me.  They really do.  Even if they are short-lasted, they do take a toll on me from time to time.

I know I shouldn’t let this happen.  I know that letting one or a few students make me go down this road is not productive.  But it happens.  Every year.  At least once or twice.  The cycle begins and I have to work through it.

If I know that this cycle is not productive, why do I keep letting myself get forced into it?  Do I have to go through this cycle?  Do I have to let the few students affect how I am with the many other students that are learning and doing the right things every day?  Do I need to go through this cycle of doubt and wonder about my choices?

If not, how do I avoid it?

Don’t get me wrong, reflection and analyzing what we do and say is important.  It is vital.  I am not saying that.  I know that doubt can make you stronger when you work through it.  I am just talking about the cycle that a handful of students can take you down where this few makes you feel like a failure as a teacher.  Where your focus is on them and not the rest of your students who are thriving in your class.  (I guess I should mention that it is not always the student that makes you feel like a failure…sometimes it is a parent like happened for me last year.)

So, how do I avoid this?

Today being Thanksgiving gave me a thought.  Maybe one tool that helps here, one weapon in this battle, is thankfulness.  Gratitude.  The attitude of taking stock of what is going well instead of what is not.

Being thankful for the good things takes your focus off of what is going wrong.  It puts into perspective that things really aren’t that bad and you that you can build on those things that are going great.  It lets you see the “silver lining” and move on.  Thankfulness lets the not-so-great things roll off your back like water off of a duck.

Being a thankfully reflective teacher can change you…especially in the moment when one or few students make you feel like you aren’t doing a good job.

Really?  Can it be that simple?

I don’t know that this is all of it, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.  A big step in that direction.  As I have thought about this on this Thanksgiving morning, some of my stress from Tuesday has started to melt away.  Not all of it, but a lot of it.  It is changing my attitude.  It is changing me.  It is letting me remember why I do what I do and put up with what I put up with.

It is refilling my patience.  That is a feat that is hard to do in the thick of a school year!  I will be honest, it helps that I have a break from school…but I still needed a patience refill!

So, what can we be thankful for as teachers?

I am just going make a quick “Thankful List” for me.  You can be thankful for whatever you need to be thank for…it sounds simplistic, but I think it will make a difference for you as it has for me.  What are you teacher-thankful for?

My Thankful Teacher List

  • I have a job.  That is important.  Not all teachers have one right now.
  • I work at a great school with great teachers.  ‘Nuff said.  🙂
  • I am on the best team of teachers at a school of great teachers.
  • I have wonderful, amazing students.
  • I have students who actually care when I am having a bad day.
  • I have students succeeding in my class who have had little success in school to this point (and I teach 6th grade).
  • I have students whose behavior has improved immensely and they are really starting to take their job as a student seriously.
  • Almost all of my students are interested in science, even if they haven’t been until this year (I teach science).
  • Most of my students work, cause no problems, and are improving in their ability to think and learn on their own.
  • I get to teach science to middle-schoolers, which is an amazing job to have!
  • I have a few students who work hard just because they know I care for them and want them to succeed.
  • Even those giving me a hard time will come around at some point.
  • I work with teachers who will help me become a better teacher.
  • I know I said it already, but I have amazing students.

Wow, I am glad I wrote those out instead of just thinking them.  I feel so much better.  Thankfulness does change you!  Can you do the same?  Write out a list of what you are thankful for in your classroom and with your students.  You don’t have to do it here, but you can if you would like!

Let gratitude change your attitude.

I know that sounds cheesy, but it does work!  🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, Teacher!  If you aren’t from the US…Happy Thursday!

You are amazing!  You are awesome!  You are getting through to your students.  Don’t give up!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Challenge, Thank You!, You Are Awesome!!!

The Joy of Thanks Giving

(c)DearTeacherLT 2013 (You may use this picture if you link back to this blog)
(c)DearTeacherLT 2013 (You may use this picture if you link back to this blog)

Dear Teacher,

I bet you had to look at the title twice, didn’t you?  🙂  I know it is June and not November…this post is not about the holiday.  It is about thanks…giving it and getting it.  We all need a thank you and we all have many thank-yous to give out.

I warned you that most of my posts would be about looking back at the school year this week.  This one came from reflecting (or refracting) on the school year, but it does apply to everyone in any stage of a “teacher year.”  Thankfulness is an anytime kind of subject.  We all need to increase our thinking of thank-yous most of the time.

We all hate the feeling of not getting a thank you.  We don’t do what we do for a thank you, but it is so nice to hear one once in a while.  Thank-yous help us know that what we have done is appreciated and accepted by those for whom we are helping or doing something.  They validate the effort we give.  They help encourage us to keep doing whatever we are doing.  A thank you is just, well, nice.

Teachers do not get a lot of thank-yous.  We knew it was a pretty thankless job when we signed up for this.  We don’t complain about not hearing the words, but inside we secretly wish to hear one more often.  It is not a big deal, but it would just be helpful to hear.

Think about it.  If you feel that way, who around you might feel that way?  Sure, you are not getting a thank you right now, but could you give one?  You know your fellow teachers would like to hear one.  Tell them.  Find something to thank them for, and be personal about it!  Find something they did for you are that they are doing for a student and say thank you.  Say it.  Write it.  Buy a card.  You don’t know how much it will encourage them…actually, you know exactly how much it will encourage them!  So you be the thank-er at you school!

Thank other people, too.  Find some students that are doing great things.  Thank them.  Go to your administration and thank them for everything that they do.  You think you have a thankless job?  They hear it a lot less than you do!  Go to the school receptionist, administrative assistant, custodians, school maintenance, school nurse, cafeteria workers, and any of the other many thankless people at your school and say a big THANK YOU!  You know they would love to hear it!

You may not hear thank you enough, but are you giving them enough?  Who do you need to say thank you to right now?  Go do it!  Think of three people to thank today, thank them, and then come back here and tell us all about it.  You are awesome, so be awesome to others!

Before I close this post out, I need to give a thank you.  Last night, this blog officially crossed the Over 10,000 Views mark!  I started this blog/encouragement revolution just a little more than three weeks ago, and you all have already pushed it to that benchmark.  You all are awesome!  Thank you for sharing the blog with others!  Thank you for all of the “likes” and shares to other sites!  Thank you for all of the Facebooking, Tweeting, Edmodo-ing, Pinning, and emailing of this encouragement to others!  It means a lot to have this message of hope affecting and helping others remember why they teach and that they are good teachers.  I love sending this message…thank you for passing the message on!  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Teacher, thank you for letting me be a part of your teaching life!  Thank you for being the awesome teacher that you are!  Thank you for just being you!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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