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?
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!
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!
(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!)
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?)!