The Teacher and September, 7th, 2016


Dear Teacher,

I want to try something a little different and see if it helps you.  I want to write you a little note every day.  Just something to lift your spirits, get you pumped, remind you why you teach, or maybe just give you a little giggle about being a part of the world we call education.  I will try to organize the messages better so that if you need a certain kind of encouragement on any given day, you can go to the archives and find it.

We’ll see how it goes.  I really like this idea.  Do you?

Without further ado, let’s talk about today.

Today is today.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  It is just today.

And even though it is quite a cliche, it is nonetheless true…today is what you make of it.

In my life and in my experience teaching, I can’t get way from the fact that my attitude determines about 97.5% of how my day goes.  Circumstances are just what happens.  Attitude is how I happen.

There is a line in a song by a band called Superchic(k) that says, “Life doesn’t happen to you, you happen to life.”  I’ve always liked that line.  It is true.  It is about how we react to the ebb and flow of life.  We can let it wash over us and determine how we feel…or we can set our determination and make each day what we want it to be.

So, Teacher, what are you going to make today be?

What is your determination?

How are you going to happen to life today?

What is your day going to be?

Motivational/Growth Mindset ABCs https://goo.gl/wU4BW9

Motivational/Growth Mindset ABCs
https://goo.gl/wU4BW9

You know I think you are pretty dang amazing, right?  You are a great teacher.  You’ve got this today.  Don’t let circumstances and small stuff (or big stuff) change you…change those things by being the awesome that you are!  Never give up and always keep teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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Lost and Found


(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 bet you thought I was gone for good, huh?  I haven’t written you in quite some time.  I am sorry for that.  But it was necessary.

I needed a break.

Sometimes we all do, and I definitely did.  I needed one and I took one.

I did not know how long the break from blogging would last.  I even let the domain name go for a bit.  I wasn’t sure if I would be back…but here I am.  I am here for you.

Where did I go?

Well, just like for you, the world is spinning.  I think everyone feels that, but teachers and educators especially do.  We have so much to do and take care of between school life and home life…and sometimes the world is moving faster than we can keep up with and all we can do is hold on for dear life.

That is where I was…holding on for dear life.

I had to do what we all do.  I had to evaluate all of my self-given responsibilities and decide which ones needed to take a backseat and even go in the trunk for a while.  I had to make some hard choices.  Writing to you was one thing that I could put down for a while, and I did.  I did because I had to.

I am back, now, though.  Hopefully you didn’t need my encouragement too much and were able to find some from another source for a while.

I am writing to you to challenge you to take some time this summer and figure out what you might need to put down for a while.  What is the extra that is good but might be the one-too-many for your life?  What are you juggling that you don’t have to?  What can you put aside for a while?

And sometimes you need to think about picking something else up once you put it down.

What is something that you want to do or love doing that you could buy some time for by stopping something else?  Is there a hobby?  A bucket-list item?  A place you want to visit?  Anything?

Find a way to make some time for that this summer.  You might just find the you that you’ve forgotten for a while.

For me it was a little (big) side project…I invented a math-based board game, and followed through with it until it was an actual game.  I will share about it in another post later, but I can’t tell you how good it felt to do something different and try a new challenge.  It brought my creativity back to life after a good but draining school year.  I am refreshed and renewed because I put something down (this blog) and tried something new (board game design).

Could you do something similar this summer?  I encourage you to try!

Have you been doing this already?  If so, let me know what you have put down and what you have picked up in the comments!

You are awesome, as always, and I hope you are having an amazing break from the day-to-day of teaching.  You are making a difference for everyone in your life!  Keep on resting this summer and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

(Oh, and if you are interested in hearing more about the board game that I am quite proud of, let me know in the comments, as well!)

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

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

Big City Monday


Dear Teacher,

It is Monday.  The start of a new week.  It is a fresh beginning.  You have arrived at the dawning of something that has never been before…this week.

Sometimes a new week of teaching can feel like coming to a big city for the first time.  It is overwhelming.  You know about the city and know where you need to go, but stepping on to the sidewalk can make you have to catch your breath at first.  It is big.  It is here.  It is real.  You have never navigated these streets before, and now you are here walking them.  It can be a bit much, but you keep walking.  You keep going.  You find your way.  You make it through.  You make it possible for yourself to get better and learn the places you need to go.  You press on until it is not a big deal anymore.

A new week can be very similar.  You know what is coming up.  You know some of what to expect from the week.  You also know that there are new challenges that await that you haven’t been made aware of yet.  If it is a big week, like state testing or something of that sort, it is even more daunting.  You go over in your head what you need to do, where you need your students to get to, and all that you have to get done.  Now it is Monday morning, and you are about to step into those streets.  You have to brace yourself and make yourself keep walking.

Deep breath, Teacher.  You’ve got this.  Step out.  Keep going.

You greet the week with all that you have.  You have done this before.  You have conquered other “big city” weeks.  This one will be no different.  You will do what you need to do.  You will get your students where they need to be.  You will take everything in stride and keep walking.  You will keep going.  You will survive.

This week has nothing on you.

Nothing.

Big cities are awesome.  Weeks can seem awesomely daunting.  But you are awesome-er.  Your awesome is bigger than the biggest city and the most difficult weeks.

You’ve got this.

Step out.

Keep walking.

(c) DearTeacherLT2013  You may use this image only if you link back to this blog and give credit to this blog.  This note will be available soon at the Dear Teacher TpT Store.  Find notes like this one by following the link.

(c) DearTeacherLT2013 You may use this image only if you link back to this blog and give credit to this blog. This note will be available soon at the Dear Teacher TpT Store. Find notes like this one by following the link.

You are awesome, for real!  You are amazing because you do keep going.  You know what your students need and you get them to succeed.  You are making a difference.  Keep walking and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

What You Are Not…


(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 have written to you a lot about what you are as a teacher.  You are a world-changer.  You are a superhero.  You are a live-saver.  You are a future-molder…

You are tired.  You are stressed.  You are over-worked.  You are overwhelmed.  You are beat-up.  You are burned out.

You are a teacher.

Today I want to do something a little different.  I want to mention something that you are not.  It is something that you need to hear and be reminded of each and every day.

You, Teacher, are not alone. 

Since last Friday, I have received more feedback than I ever gotten about the blog.  Goodness No!, Be The Shark, and Superheroes and Alter-Egos have really resounded with teachers.  There have been so many messages of “thanks” and “I needed to hear that.”  The common theme seems to be that what I am saying is what you all are going through.

The funny part is that with all three of these posts, I truly was writing to myself.  I was speaking to what I am feeling and going through.  I was trying to remind myself to remember why I do what I do in all of the busyness and stress of teaching.  I was talking to me and letting you listen in.

Teachers from all over the world have said, “That is me, too.  I am going through those things.  I am having those thoughts.  That is how I feel.  Thank you for the reminders of why I teach and what is important!”

You know what this means?

We are not alone.

No matter how you feel at your school, in your grade level, in your subject area, or whatever your teaching situation, you are not on your own.  What you are going through is common.  What you are feeling is not odd.  You don’t have to feel lonely as a teacher because the teachers around you aren’t feeling the same way.  Other teachers ARE going through what you are going through.  The teachers you work with probably are, too, they are just hiding it well.

You are not alone.

Do not be ashamed of feeling tired and overwhelmed.  Don’t be embarrassed by the burnout.  Don’t feel bad when you mess up, lose your cool, or just want to give up.  You are not the only one.  You can get through it.  You can get past it.  You can get back to who you are and why you love to teach.

We know what you feel like because we feel it to…you are not alone because the whole world of teachers is with you.

Feel like giving up?  You are not alone.

Burned out?  Beat up?  Beat down?  You are not alone.

Stressed?  Overwhelmed?  Exhausted?  You are not alone.

Feeling isolated and lonely in what you are experiencing in teacherhood?  You most definitely are not isolated and alone…we are right there with you.

Feel like you are the only one who feels the way you do?  You aren’t.  You are not alone.

Have I said it enough?  You are not alone.

“So what?  I am not alone.  I get it.  Now what?”

Knowing you are not alone is a great place to start.  It reminds you that other people have experienced, are experiencing, and will experience what you are experiencing.  This thought alone gives you hope.  Hope leads to perseverance.  Perseverance keeps you going.  Going and pushing on lets you get through what you are going through.  Getting through gives you perspective and helps you keep going next time you get on this cycle.  AND…all of this helps you to remember why you teach and keeps you on that teaching path…no matter what the world and life and teaching throws at you.

So…know you are not alone and let this give you hope.

You can make it.  You can get through.  You can push on.  You can.  You can.  You can.  You can because you are not alone!

(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!  You will keep going.  You are making a difference and you will keep making a difference.  You are amazing and YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  Remember this and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Be The Shark…Just Keep Swimming


Shark Bite – Daily Mail

Dear Teacher,

Yesterday I mentioned that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the many things to do and the lack of time to get them done.  Today is not much different…well, in a way it is worse because a pending “one more thing on my plate” has been served to me so I am balancing yet one more responsibility in my now exhausted arms.  BUT, I did feel that I needed to write today.  I am talking to myself today, but you are welcomed to listen in.  🙂

Sharks are awesome.  Not that it needed to be said, but it is so very true.  Sharks are cool.  I have thought so since I was a kid.  I never really grew out of it.  Then again, who has?  There is a reason that Shark Week has been going strong for all of these years.

I have a renewed love of sharks as this is my second year teaching animals (I am a Science teacher).  Sharks are a fascinating fish, creature of the sea, and inhabitant of our little blue planet.  There are so many types and each group is different from the others.  They cannot be lumped all together and very few assumptions about sharks are true for all of them.  Each shark species has its own interesting characteristics and quirks.

One of these quirks you may or may not know about, and it came to mind today as I was think about how I feel like I have so much to do that I don’t know where or how to start.  Some sharks, especially the bigger predators have to keep swimming to live.  Without movement water does not move through their gills.  Without water in the gills oxygen cannot be taken in.  Without oxygen, respiration stops.  Without respiration, well, RIP Mr. or Mrs. Shark.

Movement is necessary.  Movement is vital.  Movement is non-negotiable.  Movement is life.

If the Great White does not swim, the Great White will die.  Sure, it is the big bad fish of the ocean that can take on almost any challenger (I know, other nerd-types like me, Tiger Sharks are actually the most dangerous predator…just let me keep writing).  Sure the Great White is one of the most feared creatures in the world.  Sure, none can stand (or swim) with it present and not be pretty fearful.  However, even the mighty Great White is powerless without movement.  It has to swim.  Just like Dory, Great White need to “just keep swimming.”

You probably see where I am taking this.  I think Teachers are awesome.  We are the sharks of society.  I don’t mean that in the classical metaphor of “shark” for a person.  I mean that we are a group that is very often misunderstood.  We can’t be pigeon-holed together as one type of teacher.  We are all different.  We are not the same.  We have our own characteristics and quirks.

We are also ferocious.  We, in society, are taking on foes that few people want to fight.  We are fighting illiteracy, poverty, neglect, low-self esteem, triggers that lead students in to gangs, environments that can lead to drugs, and so many other things that a list is impossible.  We are big, bad sharks.  We are like Great Whites in this way.  We are fighters.  We do what few others can.

Yet, we need to remember to keep swimming.  We have to.  It is the only way to stay alive.  We have to move.  We have to keep moving.  We can’t be overwhelmed.  We will drown.  We will die as teachers.  We have to keep moving, swimming, and going.

So, when there are a million things to do, pick the most important, choose a direction, and then get going.  Do something.  Do not stay still.  Move!  Go!  Swim!

You can do this!  You are the shark!  Start swimming today, keep going, and don’t stop.  You’ve got this.  Today is yours.

Just keep swimming!

Swimming Shark

You are awesome!  You are a shark in the lives of your students, in a good way.  You are fighting battles that they cannot fight on their own.  You are also busy, tired, and overwhelmed.  Don’t give up!  You are too amazing to give up!  Just keep swimming and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Move


Dear Teacher,

This is going to be a quick one!  I, like you, have a zillion things to accomplish and the time to finish about three!  Thus is the life of a teacher.  Too much to do…and not near enough time to even think about how do to half of what needs to be done let alone get any of it done!

And that is what I want to talk about.  What do we do when we have too much to do.

We just do.

We move.

We go.

We do.

It is old and tiresome to quote, but I feel like I need to mention something that the Chinese philosopher, Lau-tzu said a long, long, long time ago:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

We have a thousand miles to move every day as a teacher.  It is overwhelming, to say the least.  But we can’t let this stop us.  We can’t.  Our students need us.  So we just need to start.

We need to take a step.

Then another.

Then another.

Then…

You get it.

We need to move.

Sometimes movement is the best we can do.  Sometimes we can only muster up the energy, strength, and time for a single step…other times it might be seventeen…we might even be able to go a few miles.  No matter how far we go, we just need to move.  We need to step.  We need to go.

Start stepping.

Move.

Go.

You may not get far today, but just move.

Oh, and make sure your students and their needs are you destination!

So what are you waiting for?  Just move!

(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 tired, but you are awesome!  It is hard, but you can do it!  Don’t stop!  Don’t give up!  Keep going, Teacher, and keep on teaching!

Love, Teacher

The Long, Hard Road


(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,

Two words: Keep going!

It is Wednesday.  Keep going.

You are feeling burned out.  Keep going.

You don’t feel supported.  Keep going.

You are lost in your content.  Keep going.

You have too much to do.  Keep going.

You have some difficult students.  Keep going.

You have things going on at home.  Keep going.

You have issues at your school.  Keep going.

You are not getting along with coworkers.  Keep going.

You are tired.  Keep going.

You are beat up.  Keep going.

You are hurt.  Keep going.

You are emotionally spent.  Keep going.

You are out of ideas.  Keep going.

You have too many students to get to each one every day.  Keep going.

You want to give up.  Keep going.

Keep going.

Keep going.

Keep going.

Your students are so close to breakthroughs.  Keep going!

Your students look to you as their only hope in the day.  Keep going!

Your students need your consistency.  Keep going!

Your students are learning to learn on their own.  Keep going!

Your students are having more and more “aha” moments every day.  Keep going!

Your students are figure things out.  Keep going!

Your students are learning.  Keep going!

You are who they need and need you to be.  Keep going!

Keep going!

Keep going!

Keep going!

The road is long.  The road is hard.  Keep going.

There are thorns.  There are rocks.  There are hills.  There are mountains.  Keep going.

The end is far and your strength is almost gone.  Keep going.

You will make it.  You can get there.  Keep going!

Teacher, don’t give up.

Keep going!

You are awesome.  You can do this.  Don’t stop.  Don’t give up.  Keep on teaching, Teacher, and keep going!

Love, Teacher