Posted in General Inspiration, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk

Teacher, Can I Tell You a Secret?


Dear Teacher,

Today’s message will be short and to the point.

You are amazing!

You pour out your heart and soul for your students.  You care more about them than sometimes they do.  You think about what they need, what they feel, and who they are…and this matters to you.  You try as hard as you can to put them first.

Seriously, you are amazing!

You work hard for the sake of your students despite doing this work in a system that seems to be working against you at times.  You put in long hours.  You plan, plan, plan.  You implement…and modify, modify, modify.  You differentiate…and differentiate more…and differentiate again.  You test (even though you may not agree with the amount of testing)…and encourage, encourage, encourage.  You work with students and intervene, intervene, intervene.  You are tired, exhausted, and burned out, but you keep doing all of this because of point one…you care about your students.

(c)DearTeacherLT2014 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2014 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

No, really.  You are seriously amazing!

You have so many expectations put on you.  You have to prove how hard you are working for the growth of your students.  You find evidence of that growth.  You defend the choices you make in the classroom.  You make hard choices about stands to make for your students.  You fight for the students that “aren’t making enough progress.”  You engage in battles for your students in and out of the classroom.  This takes a toll on your teaching heart, but yet you keep going…again, all for point one.  You care for your students.

If you haven’t gotten the point yet.  YOU ARE AMAZING, TEACHER!

You do more than you have to.  You take flak for the things you do for your students, but you protect them from that flak.  You do what you need to do to reach your students.  Sometimes you are the only one that sees the goal and the purpose of what you are doing and you get resistance from every angle, from your students and from The-Powers-That-Be.  Still, you soldier on.  You take on more than you have to and more stress than you should.  But you do what you do every day because your students need you to.  And it will make so much more of a difference than you will ever know!

Yes, I keep saying it, but you need to know it.  You, my teacher friend, are AMAZING!

Thank you for all that you do.  I know that you feel beat up, beat down, worn in, and worn out right now, and you aren’t sure if you can keep going.  I don’t know how to help this besides reminding you that you are changing your students’ lives and futures…and I can say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!  You are more amazing that words can say and that you will ever know!

(c)DearTeacherLT2014 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher) ... oh, and this was made using www.piktochart.com, check them out if you want to make cool infograpics!
DearTeacherLT2014 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher) … oh, and this was made using http://www.piktochart.com, check them out if you want to make cool infograpics!

Just in case you don’t get it yet, I think you are pretty dang AMAZING.  You are so awesome.  I am one of your biggest fans.  Please don’t lose hope!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…In case you didn’t read yesterday’s post, please check it out…many more words of the difference you are making and how awesome you are!  🙂

 

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

Year-End Close Out Pep Talk


Dear Teacher,

So, the old Earth is finishing up another trip around the Sun.  New Year’s Day is kind of like Earth’s birthday.  Another year is over and it is time to start a new one.  I bet you are reflecting aren’t you?  It is kind of the human thing to do.

Image: Wikipedia

How was this year for you?  What were the highs?  What were the lows?  How are you feeling about a new one starting?

Since you are in an introspective mood, I want to give a challenge to your inner monologue.

There is something you need to think about.  The year is over, but the school year isn’t even halfway.  This has been a difficult school year for most of us.  We have been beat-up, beat-down, and you just feel beat.

You need something to get you through the rest of the year.

You need one thought.

You need a reminder.

This is a reminder only you can give yourself.

You need to answer one question, and I think you should answer it right now.  Write down your answer.  Give some reasons why you answered the way that you did.  Put it somewhere to remind you for the rest of the year.

Are you ready?

Why are you a teacher?

I know, I know, this year you have probably asked yourself that a lot…with sarcasm and negativity.  That is not what I am talking about.  You need to reflect on the whole reason why you became a teacher in the first place.  You need to think about the heart of what and why you do what you do and deal with what you have to deal with.  There has to be a reason.  You probably have many.

Image: Wikipedia

I bet your reason has little to do with content.  It probably has everything to do with students and making a difference.  I know this is the case for me.

Let me give you my reasons.  This is more for me than for you…because I am a teacher and I need to do this as much as you do!

Why am I a teacher?

  • I have a huge heart and am filled with compassion for people that have little to no resources (aka…live at or near the poverty line)…teaching at a Title I school is a great way to have an impact and make a difference.
  • I want to help students, especially at-risk boys, start thinking through choices and become leaders in their families and communities.
  • I love to learn and pass that love of learning on to others.
  • I love the process of teaching and learning and I love to teach others how to learn better.
  • I am creative and obviously have a gift for teaching, I would be miserable not using my abilities and talents to help others.
  • Teaching is in my blood and I live for it…I would be bored doing anything else.

I can probably come up with 1000 more reasons, but I think this is a enough for now.  That was helpful to my teaching heart and teaching soul!  Thanks for letting me do that here!

What about you?  Why are you a 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)

You are awesome and you are good at what you do!  I highly recommend some reflection on your reasons for teaching.  It might make you ready to endure more of what is wearing you out this year.  You have a reason.  You have a purpose.  You are making a difference.  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Pep Talk, Theme Song

Freedom [when you let it go]


Dear 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!

(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 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!

Love, Teacher

PS…In case you missed the announcement yesterday, I am very excited to announce the Motivational ABCs Poster/Word Wall now available in the Dear Teacher/Love Teacher TeachersPayTeachers Store!  Check it out, if you haven’t had the chance!  The image above is one of the printable posters in the set.