Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance, You Are Awesome!!!

More Than “Just Okay”

Dear Teacher,

I have a feeling that you are like me.  You are a decent teacher, but sometimes you have moments of sheer teaching genius.  You have times where everything that you touch turns to teaching gold.  Those times are few and fleeting, but they happen.

We also have those fortunately fleeting flickers of time when the opposite happens.  Everything you touch turn to teaching…well, you know what I mean.

We tend to get hung up on those two extremes.  We either look back at those hours of  greatness and wonder how to get back to them, or we beat ourselves up for the seconds of eternal not-so-greatness and try to figure out how to avoid them forever.

What we miss more than too often are the times in-between.  The every day situations.  The times when things work out just okay.

I think that the “just okays” are more important than everything else.


Because the “just okays” are what we do as teachers.


I won’t go into it again today, but yesterday I reminded us all of all the things that we deal with as teachers every minute of every day.  We have a lot working against us.  There are a mountain of issues that we have to climb each and every day.  It is almost like we are set up to fail most days.

But we don’t fail.

Somehow we survive.

More than that…

Somehow we are able to teach, reach, and help students become learners and better people.

The every day “just okays” are how we do this.

The awesomeness of what we do happens in the daily grind of teaching.  We have a sense of what needs to be done, what we need to do to get it done, and ability to somehow get this things done.

Everyday we just have to have faith that we know the right things…and we step out in that faith.  Somehow, when all is said and done, we find that we were usually right with the choices that we made in our classroom day-to-day.

The steps of faith are what make up okay days.  The cool thing is that those kind of days add up.  Over time, we can look back and see that we are, just maybe, a little better than “just okay.”

Another result of the pressing on in faith to make days okay also help us do something else pretty cool.  Over time, the “okay days” also often lead to those moments of grandeur and away from of the moment of lack-of-grandeur.  The more okay that we have, the more great days tend to build up and we have longer periods of time between the terrible, horrible, no good, really bad days.

I am reminded of a scene from one of the best movies ever, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Indiana has to trust his interpretation of clues that he is chasing.  He stands over a huge chasm.  He thinks he know what to do.  His father’s life is in the balance.  He has to trust what he thinks is right.  Do I need to point out the connections to the “just okay” days?  I think you get it!  Anyway, watch this clip.

“Just okay” is not a bad thing.

“Just okay” is not an awful goal.

“Just okay” means you are doing something right.

So what does this mean for you and me?  We need to daily have faith in ourselves.  We know what to do.  We have that teacher instinct of what the right thing is.  We just need to do it.  Day after day.  Week after week.  All of our “okay” will be our greatness.  It proves our awesomeness.

You really are awesome!  Your gut is usually right.  Trust it.  Take daily steps of faith.  Your “okay” is more than just okay.  You’ve got this.  You are making a difference!  Keep going and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher


Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Mondays, Note to Teachers, Picture Note, Poster/Graphic, You Are Awesome!!!

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.


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

Posted in Challenge, Feedback, General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance

Fed Back and Tested (get back up, Teacher)

Made with

Dear Teacher,

I don’t know about you, but yesterday was a rough one for me.  Not bad, so much, just rough.  You know those kind of days?

I gave a test.  I had high expectations.  It went horribly wrong.  My prediction of high averages were dashed on the rocks of reality.

I gave the students an opportunity to give me some feedback about behavior.  They rated me, themselves, and the class.  It is never nice to have to look into the mirror of perception!  Nothing surprised me too much, but it doesn’t feel good to know what you thought is true.

So here I am this morning left with two things to come to grips with:

  • The students didn’t learn what I thought they learned.
  • I have as much to work on in myself as I thought I did.

So, what do I do with that?  Do I beat myself up?  Do I wallow in it for a while?  Or do I pick my teacher hind parts up off the floor and get to work?

I have shared this quote before, but I love it and am going to share it again.  It is from Jaime Escalante, the teacher the move Stand and Deliver was about (I wrote about him here).  He said this:

“Life is not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how many times you get back up.”

It does not matter what a dose of real does to me.  It does not matter if it knocks me down.  It matters if I learn from it and change.  It matters if I find a way to make what I need to do or teach work.  It is more than an idea.  It is a necessity.

It is a necessity as a human being.  It is a necessity as an adult.  It is a necessity as a teacher.  But more than these, it is a necessity as a role model to my students.

I must get up.  I must brush myself up.  I must make changes.  I must try again.

I must because one day the must do the same.

It is not about me.

It is about them.

I will get up today.  I will brush myself off today.  I will make changes.  I will try again.

I will do these things because I am going to ask my students to do the same.  I ask them to do this every day.  They need to see me do it first.  They will see me do it today.

How about you?  What do you do when you are knocked down as a teacher?  How do you handle it?  How do you teach your students to get back up?  Do they see you do it?  Do the see you do it with grace?  Do they see you do it with style?  Will they and can they see you do it today?

I know that you get back up.  You are a teacher.  You have to.  Can you get back up better today than yesterday?  Can you show your students what it takes to bust through failure to get to success?

You are awesome!  You do get back up.  You do it with awesome.  Help you students to that with awesome today!  You are amazing!  You are making a difference!  Keep on teaching and getting back up, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

From (shared by Edutopia).
Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance

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

Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Perseverance

Pressing On

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the picture if you link back to this blog.)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the picture if you link back to this blog.)

Dear Teacher,

Sorry for the shortened and less regularly timed messages this week.  We have been working on a big project at my house.  We are putting in our own hardwood floors with a little help from some friends.  This is where most of my time has gone this week.  🙂

I have learned something from this home project, and it reminds me of teaching.  I have learned/remembered that jobs are not always easy.  It takes work.  You get tired.  You get stressed.  You have obstacles.  You get frustrated.  You want to stop.  You have to keep going (or not have a kitchen for longer than that is a good idea).  You push through.  It seems impossible…until you push through that wall and it slowly starts to seem possible…and after a while it almost seems easy…until you are glad that you started the process in the first place.

The kitchen looks good now, but it didn’t for a while.  This has been a long week, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel this morning.  I feel good, and I could almost see myself taking on a project like this.  It is amazing how this transformation happens…from impossible to possible to easy…and sometimes in a very short time.

Think about your toughest year at school, your toughest classes, your toughest students.  It was hard.  It was stressful.  It seemed impossible.  You wanted to quit.  But you didn’t.  You pressed on.  You kept going.  You made it through.  In the end, you probably found that you learned something, you found out more about yourself, and you became a better teacher.  It did not feel good going through it, but you felt better in the end once you survived.  In the end you were stronger for having gone through the year that you did.

Remember this as you look forward to another year (or right now if you are not on summer break).  Nothing lasts for ever, and you CAN persevere.  You have made it through before, and you can do it again.  What ever you are going through will be worthwhile in the end!  You can do it, and it WILL make you a better teacher.  Keep going and never give up!

You are an awesome and amazing teacher.  You don’t give up and you make something beautiful in the end.  You are making such a difference because you do press on through everything!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…Today is the last day for the giveaway at the Facebook page.  You need to comment with your story by the midnight tonight (July 5th, 2013).  Go check it out and share if you haven’t!