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?)!
“Brain-based learning” and “brain research” are some of the current buzzwords that I am sure you hear a lot of, and possibly use yourself. I have been on the brain-based bandwagon for the last year, and I have to say that understanding the teacher-learning dichotomy and how the brain fits into it has helped me become a better teacher, and I have done a lot of research and reading to keep me on that path to better teaching.
One of the concepts that keeps coming up the more I read, research, and experience in my classroom is that of mindset. Our students need to have the mindset of success and achievement so that they can push themselves deeper and deeper into understanding what we are to teach them. This kind of mindset helps them continue on when learning becomes difficult. It helps them celebrate small successes, and this helps them push even harder for more achievement.
This mindset is something we need to instill in our students.
This is a process that takes time and intentional effort, but it is worth every second of time and ounce of effort when you start to see your students take ownership and start learning on their own. It is a beautiful thing to watch and be a part of! I think we all love watching those light bulbs turn on for our students.
One of the things that we can do to help instill this in students is to surround them with success-minded thoughts and ideas. This year, in my classroom, I put up over thirty quotes based on this. The students have really been reading them and this has helped build some of that mind-set in some of them. I wanted more than just quotes. I wanted some little things that might get lodged in their brains and help them keep the mindset growing.
That is where the Motivational ABCs come in. I made these images to print as 8.5×11 sized posters to put up around my room (I print on colored paper to help them stand out). This is just one more thing to draw my students attention in and help them continue to foster the success mindset. I realized that other teachers may be looking for something similar, so I wanted to make them available on the Teachers Pay Teachers store.
There is a poster for each letter of the alphabet and two extra motivational posters. Each poster has a color and black&white version. Each word has a “definition” in the context of a success mindset.
You can print these up as posters, as I have, or there are a number of different ways to use them. These are the jpeg files, so you can use a printing service to make larger posters. You can print them smaller and use them as notes you can write on the back of or hand out. There are a number of different uses that you can probably think of…I won’t limit your imagination!
You are awesome! I know that you do all you can to instill the mindset of achievement. Your students will thank you later! Keep on teaching, Teacher!