Posted in Uncategorized

(I wanna see you be) Brave

Dear Teacher,

Good morning!  Ready or not, a new week is here.  Whether you are at the beginning, middle, or end of a school year, Mondays can be rough.  They are especially difficult if you are feeling the grind of the work that we do.  This is why I do my Monday posts.  This is why I give you a theme song for the day and week.  Sometimes I have a good idea for the song I want to use and words to write to go with it, sometimes it just comes together when I go looking for a song.

This morning I had a song and words in mind, but then when the search for the song began something else happened.  I found a song I have never heard that is amazing…and the message from the song is timely and needed by me, so I figure other people are in the same boat.  I hope so, it is always weird when the message is just for me!  Anywho, for those who know the deal, click play and read on.  If you are new to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher, click play, get past the ads, and then read on.

If you have time, watch the video again after reading.  It is a pretty inspirational video, at least it was for me!

Teacher, you stand out in a crowd.  Not because you want to, it is more because you have to.  You stand in front of a group of students every day.  You are in the spotlight.  You lead a group of people that need you to make choices that affect their future.  It is quite overwhelming, if you think about it, but you take it in stride.  It is what you are made for…it is what you do and want to do.

Embracing your role, though, doesn’t make it any easier.  And it is coupled with many other aspects of your job where you have to make choices that put a bulls-eye on you.  You have to fight curriculum battles.  You have to work on classroom management.  You have to answer to parents.  You have to answer to students.  You have to answer to administration.  You have to answer to your department.  You have to answer to your team.  You have to answer to your district.  You have to…well, I think you get the point.  You know this.  You are front and center for everything that you do and say in your classroom and beyond.

You have a lot of hats.  You play a lot of roles.  You do so many things, yet you have the heat of eyes staring at you constantly as you try to make the right decisions day after day after day.  You are, like the video, dancing in a crowd of people who are all trying to figure out what you are doing and why.

Sometimes, with all of that, there is pressure to put on a show.  There is the temptation to just do what is expected and never be outside of the box.  Even when you know that your students need more, the cop-out path of just following the status quo is always in front of you.  It is a way out.  It is an escape.  If you take that route, you can just blame the system if things do not pan out.  “I was just following orders” is so much easier to say than “I took a risk, it did not work out, and I am sorry.”

Teacher, I know you.  You know what is best for your students.  You know what they need and how to push and challenge them to bigger and greater things.  You know the risks, but you also see the rewards.  You know when to step out.  You know when to speak up.  You know when to take a stand.  You know all of these things…all you need to do is be brave and do them.

I want to see you be brave.  I want you to speak the truth.  I want you to make the choices that make your students better students and better people.  I want you to take the risks you need to take and reap the rewards that come from them.  I want to see you be brave.

Rest assured that the system usually comes around to the brave ones.  There were many teachers using technology before it was the expectation.  They had to defend their choices constantly, and now look at the world of education–the things that once seemed strange is the norm.

There were many “common core” teachers before Common Core was even a thing.  They had to defend and stand up for the way that they were teaching.  Science teachers had to defend the amount of reading and writing that they pushed.  English teachers had to give an account for why they thought informational texts were as important, or even more important than novels.  They fought and held their ground, and look at what the world looks like now.

Teacher, keep doing what you know is right.  Keep what is best for your students in sight.  Don’t be afraid to be brave.  Be brave today.  Be brave this week.  Be brave this year.  I just wanna see you be brave!

You are awesome.  You are amazing.  You are brave.  Be these things today!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…For those who are into Pinterest, there is a Pinterest contest that ends next week.  See the second half of this post from last week for details.

Posted in Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Reflection

Happy and Not-So-Happy Endings

Dear Teacher,

Well, my hiatus was cut a little short because of a short summer school teaching opportunity that has come up.  Because I am ending my teaching sabbatical early, I have decided to go ahead and come back to the blog, too.  It is good to be back.  I hope that you did not miss me too much.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the posts of my Substitute Teachers.  I thought each post was insightful, challenging, and full of hope.  I hope that you feel the same!

Today’s message is about endings.  Endings are what I am thinking about as my little vacation comes to a close.  Endings are inevitable.  They will come no matter what…and it can be a challenge or a hope to keep that in mind.

When things are going well, an ending does not seem like a good thing.  The end of a break.  The end of a vacation.  Or just the end of a great year with your students.  Good things do not last forever and it is sad to see them go.  These kind of endings do not have to be bad, though.  There is a ways to view them as a positive, and this is where the challenge comes in.

  •  Keep the end in mind to help you savor every wonderful moment…take it in and enjoy every fleeting second.
  • Memories of good times that have ended give you something to hang on to when things get rough…build those memories well when things are good!
  • Good times have to end sometime…remember this…we grow more and learn more during difficulties.  What kind of teacher would you be if things only went well?

The flip-side of endings are the endings of not-so-good times.  When things are not quite as awesome, and the “going get rough,” endings are the light at the end of the tunnel.  Knowing that there is an ending gives you the opportunity and ability to have some hope.  The following are a few thoughts for you if you are going through one of those phases right now.

  •  Nothing lasts forever, especially the hard times, so don’t give up!
  • You are growing and becoming a better teacher right now, don’t lose sight of that.
  • I know it is Kelly Clarkson cliché, but what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger…when you come out on the other side you will be stronger and better for it.
  • The light at the end of that tunnel is getting larger every day. Hold on to hope.  You will make it through!
(c)DearTeacherLT (You may use this picture if you link back to this blog.)
(c)DearTeacherLT (You may use this picture if you link back to this blog.)

What is your impending ending right now?

Are you in a good time that will soon be over?  Savor it.  Take it all in.  Enjoy it and make memories.  You will need those memories eventually!

Are you in a down time right now?  Does everything seem to be going up in flames around you?  The end is near!  It will not last forever!  Find those “good times” memories, hang on to them, and hold on tight for the arrival of that light at the end of the tunnel!

Teacher, you are amazing.  You are awesome!  You are believed in and you are getting stronger every day!  You are changing lives and making a difference!

Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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