Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Pep Talk

An Open Letter to Teachers…Don’t Lose Hope

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

You are beat up and beat down.  You are worn out.  You are worn down.  This has been one of the toughest and roughest years of your career.

You don’t know if you can do this anymore.

Somewhere in and through the stress of students, parents, administration, and the system, you have lost sight of why you are doing this.  You don’t see the difference you intended to make.  You can’t see the forest.  You can’t see the trees.  You only see dwindling patience, one more student that doesn’t have a pencil, and another email about lesson plans that you haven’t turned in yet.

You are at the end of your rope and it is becoming more and more tempting to just let go.

You are losing your grip.

While you contemplate how much the fall will hurt, can I just tell you something…well, a few somethings?

First thing that you need to know is that you are absolutely, one hundred and fifty percent not alone.  More teachers feel this way this year than don’t, I think.  It is a common thought and feeling.

DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Even if it doesn’t fee like it, other teachers are going through exactly what you are right now.  Probably other teachers in your school…most likely the teacher in the room next door.

I know it is kind of messed up that a lot of teachers are in the same boat…but at least you don’t have to be alone in this.

And that is great, but what do we do about it?

We need to remember that the education system is not why we got into this business…we went through the trouble of becoming a teacher because we actually care about students and their future.  The system is what is wearing us out, but the students are who are keep us in.

Unfortunately, we are bound by the system.  How do we work within it to make the biggest difference in the lives of those learners in our classrooms?

I think it all comes down to spending a bit of time before each school day remembering why we teach.  It means thinking about each student (or some of them each day, if you teach multiple classes).  We have to remember that each of those souls are people and that we actually care about them and where they are going in life.

If we do that, it will lead us to think more carefully about our decisions in the classroom.  We will be driven to take stands for what is best for students.  We will fight for what is right.  We will truly differentiate for each child and what they need from us.

As that happens, our teacher heart will start to beat again.  We will find our passion again for teaching.  We will be ready to change the world all over again.

I know this is all easier said than done, but I think it is time we start doing what we know needs to be done.  I think it is time to be brave and bold…for our students good and for ours.

You are a TEACHER!  You actually do know what you are doing most of the time.  You know your students and care about their lives.  You know how to make classroom decisions.  You are courageous!  You are strong!  You are intelligent!  You matter to the future of your students and you are making a difference!

Remember why you do what you do and that you are not alone in this.  Be brave and do what needs to be done.  You will be happier in the long-run because you are doing what are made for!

DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You are amazing!  You are awesome!  Thank you for all that you do!  Remember that you can do anything for a year, and this year is almost done.  You’ve got this!  Don’t give up!  Keep on persevering and keep on teaching, Teacher!  You rock!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk

Pick Your Pep Talk

Dear Teacher,

To quote one of my new personal heroes, Kid President, “I think we all need a pep talk.”

I was thinking about what to write this morning, I realized how tired I was and not ready for the day.  I need a pep talk.  And if I need one, you probably need one.  So, I will pep talk myself and you at the same time.

Because I do not know where you are or what you may be going through and need right now, I am going give a bunch of pep mini-talks.  Figure out which one you need, and run with it.  It is choose-your-own-pep-talk-adventure day.  🙂

Bad Week at School (there are three main possible bad kind of weeks…pick the pep talk you need):

  • Teacher, you know it does get better.  Another day is always around the corner.  Things will pick up.  You will pick things up.  You are good like that.  Why not pick things up today.  Be the change your week needs.  Control the things you can control, be awesome at them, and let everything else go.  Bad weeks are not forever.  Turn this week around and look for the good.  You can do it.  You know you can.  You are awesome, so make the rest of the week awesome.  Be the awesome.
  • Teacher, your students love you.  You know that they do.  It may not seem like it after the week you have had, but they do love you.  Be patient.  Be understanding.  Be awesome to them.  They will awesome you back.  I promise.  Pick a couple that need extra patience and care…give them that patience and care, and they may turn and influence the rest of your students!  It gets better.  It will get better.  Just wait for the better and do not give up.
  • Teacher, administration is just doing their job.  Even if things seem over the top, just do what you do best.  Focus on your kids.  Let every choice you make be traced back to what is best for your students.  Things will usually pan out in your favor if you do.  You are great at your job.  You are awesome!  Do not stress out.  Do not let the pressure make you think less of yourself.  Keep on being the best teacher you can be.  Take the criticism and let it make you better.  If it is undeserved, then find a way to move past it.  I know you can.  You are awesome.  Remember, whatever it is, it will soon pass…or at least pass eventually!  Keep teaching, Teacher.  Keep pressing on!

Issues Outside of School (pick the one you need):

  • Teacher, you have a job to do.  I know it is hard, but find a way to leave what is heavy on your mind and heart at the doorway of your classroom.  Love your kids.  Turn your stress and pressure into a motivation to show your students how much you care.  Slow down at school.  Enjoy what you love doing: teaching.  You are a teacher because you love it.  Love what you do and let that help you relieve some of that outside stress.  You can leave all of that until the afternoon.  You are awesome.  You are a professional.  Push through that personal pain and be the awesome teacher that you are!  Let your students love you through whatever it is.
  • Teacher, you are not on your own.  You are surrounded by teachers that understand.  Talk to someone you trust.  Let them help you carry your burden.  If you need some time to yourself today, find someone to help you work that out.  Your fellow teachers understand.  We have all had those times.  Do not carry this alone if you do not have to.  When life gets to be too much, you can not let that affect your relationship with your students.  Find someone to help.  Help is out there and ready.  You are not alone!

Summer Time Teacher (I can’t address everything, but hopefully you can find something to apply):

  • Teacher, you are on a break, but you are still a teacher.  Relax, but do not get lazy.  Get something ready for next year.  Work on something today.  Find something cool you can do in the coming year.  Read a book or search for one to start.  Don’t forget who you are on the inside…a teacher.  Research, talk to other teachers, brainstorm…do something!  You are awesome and I know you will think about teaching in some way…and that is one of those reasons you are a great teacher!
  • Teacher, STOP working.  Take a break.  Next year will get here soon enough.  Spend time with your friends and family.  Play with your kids, if you have them.  Spend time with your significant other, if you have one.  See some friends.  Do something that is not school related.  As a matter of fact, do not think about school at all.  You are an awesome teacher, but take a break!  You do not have to be Teacher of the Year over the summer.  Relax and recharge for next year.  Your students need you to!

Okay, I know I have not addressed everything.  I hope I wrote something that helps you!  You are awesome, Teacher!  You are believed in!  You are cared for!  Go out and do something awesome today!

Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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

Posted in Uncategorized

A Chance for Compassion…

Dear Teacher,

I don’t know you.  I don’t know where you teach.  I don’t know your students.  What I do know is that yesterday a tragedy ravaged a small town in Oklahoma.  As teachers, whose hearts are constantly focused on the good for others, our hearts break.  No matter where you live, you have a broken heart for the people in Moore and surrounding areas.  We want to do all that we can to help.  Teachers are people marked by their compassion, and you are no exception to that rule.

Will your students have a broken heart for what happened yesterday?  Many will and many won’t.  If your students, like mine, have no frame of reference for what happened or even know what happened they may not know how to feel compassion for the people of Moore.  What can you do today to help your students see past themselves?  In the light of the horribleness that happened, how can you help your students develop a sense of compassion?

I know that we already have our lessons boxed up and ready for today.  I know that my students are working on a project and we are under the pressure of time to finish.  However, I feel like I really need to take a pause and find a way to work this in today.  Can you do that?  Can you take some time from your lessons and help the students to understand what happened and help them see there are people hurting right now?

Compassion is natural, on some level, in most human beings.  However, it does need to be nurtured and developed as well.  How are you doing this with your students?  Will you take some time today to help the next generation learn how to love others and see past themselves?  I know that I have to…it feels like something that is important to do.  My heart breaks for Oklahoma right now.  I want my students to feel that in some way, too.

Keep the people of Moore and all of Oklahoma, especially those who have lost loved ones, in your prayers and thoughts today.  Reach out and help in what ever way you can.  Help your students to want to do the same.

Keep on teaching, Teacher!  You are awesome for all that you do to help your students learn and become better people!

Love, Teacher

For more hope and encouragement: @DearTeacherLT