Posted in General Inspiration, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance, Quotes to Inspire

Move


Dear 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.

We move.

We go.

We 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.

Then another.

Then another.

Then…

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.

Start stepping.

Move.

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!

(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 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!

Love, Teacher

Posted in General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Uncategorized

Why We Fight…


Dear Teacher,

I do not know how you feel right now, but I feel like I have been in a fight.  Not a fist fight, but a battle.  The beginning of this school year has been a little rough.  My students have been great!  I am not talking about them.  It has just been tough to get things going.

I have written a lot about the changes that I am striving to make this year.  It is not easy to dramatically change how you do what you have been doing for a long time.  This is my eighth year of teaching, so I am trying to break a lot of old habits and undo a lot of the “old ways” that I have taught.  When the going gets hectic and the clearness of my schedule gets muddied, I want to fall back into what is comfortable.

Yesterday was most definitely one of those days.  I had to constantly remind myself why the changes are important.  I had to keep telling myself why I needed to keep going on the road that I am on.  I had to look at myself and tell me that I can not give up and I can’t surrender.

It was hard.  I was left feeling beat up by the battle by the end of the day.  So now, at the beginning of a new day, as I sat and thought about what I might want to write for a post, I wondered what I needed to hear myself.  What I came up with is that I need some motivation.  Something to pump me up.  So I went on a search.

I found a pretty motivating (and a little funny from the way it was set up) set of movie speeches to get me fired up and ready for the day.  Have a watch and listen with me.

I love the way that was put together!  Are you more ready for the day now (or tomorrow if you are seeing this at the end of the school day)?  I know I am!

As I was looking for this, I found another video that was shown at a training I recently went to.  This video helped me this morning, as well.  It is a look at the recent past and the exponential changes we have seen in present and full of predictions for the continued changes into the future.  It is a reminder that we are teaching students for who the future is unknown.  There is a statistic that keeps changing (in the upward direction) of the percentage of jobs that will be available to our students when they are adults that do not exist at the moment.  This is in the video.  This statistic never ceases to astound me.  It is eye-opening to think that our students are going to enter a world that does not exist yet, and this world is unfathomable to us at the moment.  We HAVE to be on our game.  We have to fight!

I probably ought to share the video.  🙂  Even if you have seen it before, it is worth another watch.

After this, I don’t have a lot to say.  I need to let all of this sink in for you and let it motivate you for your “fight” today.  I do want to close with a quote that goes along with the video and what this information means for us as teachers.  It is from Eric Hoffer, a 20th Century American philosopher.  What is amazing about this quote is that he past away in 1983…a little before the impending technology boom that has caused much of the exponential changes that we are seeing.

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

Teacher, I hope you have a great day.  I hope you have a great end to the week.  I hope next week brings some of the awesome that you are working towards with your student.  You are awesome and amazing!  You are fighting the good fight.  Keep fighting and keep on teaching!

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)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
Posted in Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Theme Song, You Are Awesome!!!

It’s My Life [and my school year]


(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,

Okay, I know that you may or may not be starting the new school year when you read this.  However, there is a good chance that you are, because most of the readers of this blog are from the US.  If you are not starting the new school year, you may still find some motivation here in this post, so read on.  I hope it will be worth your time!

This is a theme song post; you know the procedures by now, I hope!  Click play and then start reading when the music starts!

This is it, Teacher.  A new school year is upon you.  Are you ready?  Are you nervous?  Are you anxious?  Are you excited?  Or are you, like me, a jumble and mix of all three and then some?

What are your plans for the year?  I don’t mean unit and lesson plans.  I mean what are your plans in the terms of what you want the school year to look like?  Do you have those kind of plans?  Do you have goals, hopes, and dreams for what the school year could be like?  I don’t mean the kind of hopes and dreams that you think, “That would be nice but it won’t happen.”  I mean the kind of hopes and dreams that you believe in so much that it gets you up in the morning and you will wear yourself out to make happen?

A lot of us had those kind of plans when we first started teaching.  Unfortunately, the longer you teach the more that kind of thinking fades.  Lofty and slightly unrealistic goals get beat out of you by the realities of teaching.  It does happen slowly, thank goodness, but our hopes erode over the years.

Drip by drip, the stress and pressure of teaching starts to wear on you.  It breaks down the hope.  It washes some of the dreaming away.  It dims the light that used to shine so bright.

Sometimes this gets to the point that the school year happens to you.  You get stuck in a form of “survival mode” that you stay in just to make it through.  You love and do your best with your students, but the spark is faded or gone.  You go along with the waves and currents of the year because you have so little fight left.  It is a normal part of teaching for so many of us.  Don’t feel bad if you have been there or are there.  There is hope!

What is that hope, Mr. Dear Teacher/Love Teacher?

The hope is that IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!

Most of this is going to be a mental exercise, so I know that you may or may not see this as a little bit of “pie in the sky hooey,” but you just have to change your thinking!  You have to believe that this year is going to be different.  This year will be the change and you will never be the same teacher again!  You have to stand firm and resolute.  You have have to stand tall, look this new school year in the eye, and be determined that you are going to happen to the year and the year is not just going to happen to you!

Your attitude has to change.

Remember way back to when you first started out.  Remember those wild-eyed dreams that you had.  Remember the teacher that you were determined to be.  Remember how you were going to take the world by storm and change the lives of your students for the better.

Have that image and those thoughts in your head, and then look in the mirror and tell yourself that it is not too late.  You know why?  It is because, no matter how long that you have been teaching, IT IS NOT TOO LATE!  You can still be that teacher!  You can still meet those goals!

The best part is that the longer you have been teaching, the more know-how and experience you have to make those things happen and be that teacher you wanted to be.  You just have to purpose yourself to do so!  And you can!  You can because you are awesome!

The past does not matter.  No matter the teacher you have been, you can still be the teacher you always wanted to be!  Find a way to do it.  Hang out with those teachers that are closest to what you dreamed of being.  Learn from them.  Read, read, read!  There are so many sources for strategies and ideas!  I will post some of those sources soon.  Get to know your students.  Find out what they think they need from you as a teacher.  Try to become the teacher that they need!

Teacher, YOU CAN DO THIS!

It is your teaching life.  It is your year.  It is now or never.  Teach like your alive!  You are alive!  You can be the great teacher you wanted to be or that people think you are and you don’t believe them.  It is never too late!

BE AWESOME!  MAKE THIS YEAR AWESOME!  DO WHAT EVER IT TAKES!  YOU CAN BECAUSE YOU ARE AMAZING!  KEEP ON TEACHING, TEACHER!

This is your year, and don’t you forget it!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Get Psyched!, Pep Talk, Theme Song

[we and our students are] Meant to Live


(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,

Good morning.  It is Monday.  You know what that means!  Weekly theme song.  This one is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands.  I am not sure if that is telling too much about me out not!  🙂  I picked this week’s song because I am pumped up.  I got through some difficult mental/emotional hiccups last week after a school meeting and learning the state test results last week, and now all of that is fuel for my personal teaching change and to help my students to fly next year!  I know I can raise them (and me) up to more than they (and I) could be without a little change in me!

Without further ado.  Click play (and skip the add if one comes up) and then keep reading.

Teacher, where ever you might be in the school year.  You may be, like me, in the summer and it is approaching the end and a new school year is looming larger and larger on the horizon.  You might be in the throes of the school year with things going great or not so great.  You may be in another place in the school year, I don’t know.

And I don’t know how you are feeling.  Are you excited?  Are things going well?  Are plans coming together and next year is starting to take shape?  Are you students doing well and all of your hard work and planning is paying off?  Or are you on the other side?  Are you terrified or extremely nervous about the new school year and things are not coming together for you?  Are you falling a part?  Is the school year not going so well?  Is all of your hard work and planning looking like a waste of time and your students are just not getting it?  Do they just not want to get it?

You most likely have a mixed bag.  That seems to be how most of us spend the school year.  A little from columns A, B, C, and D.  Some things are going well and your feeling good about how things look.  Other areas are not so good and you are a stressful wreck.  And with other factors you are just kind of in the middle.  This is how I spend most of the school year and summer.  I think we all do.  We are teachers.  We find a balance somehow!

No matter where you may be and how you may feel, I want you to stop, breathe, and relax.  Now, think of the biggest boldest, most impossible sounding goals you can have for yourself, your classroom, and your students.  Dream big.  Where do you wish you and your students could be as teachers and learners?  Who do you wish you could be as a teacher?  What would you be doing?  Who do you wish your students could be as learners and scholars?  What is your most impossible. yet semi-realistic goal that you would like your students to meet?  Teacher, I am serious.  Think of one or two gaudy goals for you and your students (“gaudy goals” are an idea from the training I went to a couple of weeks ago).  If you don’t have something to shoot for, how do you know where you are aiming?

Now that you have a goal in mind, find a way to get there.  I am serious.  What can you change?  What can you do?  Pick a handful of small things that you can do to try to move and find a path to those big, impossible sounding dreams.  Everything was impossible for the first time they were done.  There are some awesome examples of teachers who have done this and found their way to make the dreams reality.  I hope to highlight some of them soon, but that doesn’t matter right now because you could be one of those teachers.  Dreams are just dreams until we make them real.  How can you make your dreams and goals the real world for you and your students?

Teacher, you and your students are meant for so much more.  Do not be happy where you are with your students, where ever that may be.  You are meant to live for something more.  Your students are meant to live for something more.  Be something more.  Move your students on to be something more.  You can do it!  You can be more!  Go be more!  Don’t ride this feeling off.  I know that something stirred inside of you while you thought of bigger dreams.  Do it!  Work at it!  Make something more happen.  Be the something more for yourself, your students, and your school!  You are something more.  Prove it this week!

You are awesome!  You are the more!  I know you will show it to yourself and the world at-large this week!  Be the teacher you know that you always could be.  Go big this week!  I mean it!  You are amazing!  You will make a difference this week, and every week!  Keep on going and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…For those of you who use Edmodo, I have started an Edmodo Group for the daily updates.

Posted in Challenge, Dream Big, Picture Note, The Power of Creativity

Motivational Moth


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

Dear Teacher,

You see lessons all around you.  It is a part of the gift of teaching!  You see something, hear something, smell something, feel something, or even taste something and you think of what your students can learn from it.  This makes you awesome!  Find a real world example to teach from today.  Ideas are all around you, reach out and grab one!  Find something and write a quick lesson idea using it.  Your students will thank you later!

You are awesome!  You are amazing!  You are incredibly creative!  Create something for your students today from what is around you!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…While I am at a training this week, I need your help.  Please share this link in your Edmodo communities and groups, share on Facebook, share on Twitter, and where ever else you can!  Spread the encouragement because I can’t!  Thanks!  You are awesome!  🙂

Posted in Get Psyched!, Theme Song, You Are Awesome!!!

(your students are) Holding Out for a Hero


Dear Teacher,

I have decided to make Monday morning posts about motivation and getting you psyched up for the week.  As you saw last Monday, I think music and theme songs a great way to do this.  Today I am going to mix that with another thing that jacks me up and gets me motivated to do great things…superhero movies!  I may be showing a little bit of my inner-geek with this, but I can’t help it.  Superhero movies make me want to go out and do awesome things!  This is a theme song that you might want to watch after you get done reading…but go ahead and have it playing while you read the rest of the post.  🙂

Teacher, you are a superhero with superpowers.  You see things other people don’t see.  You can think in ways other people don’t think. You do feats of planning and preparation that other people could not keep up with.  You grade with heart…looking for more than what was and wasn’t correct, you look for what needs to be worked on and honed in each student.  You do great and amazing things…even if other people do not always see you do them.

Your students need a hero!  They need someone to fight for them.  They need someone to take a stand for them.  They need someone who will not settle for mediocrity in them.  They need someone to see the potential in them and help them live up to that potential!  They need you, Super Teacher.

Be that hero for your students…

  • Plan like you mean it and know you are doing something that needs to be done for your students.  This goes double for teachers on summer break…PLAN!  You are giving yourself weapons to fight with for next year.  You are honing your superpowers!  Plan like you are a hero in training!
  •  Love on your students.  Get to know them.  When you know them, you are so much more invested in the fights you need to fight for them!  Summer teachers, plan for getting to know your kids and investing in their lives…the time planning for this will pay off in big dividends when you are more invested in each student.
  • Use your gifts and talents.  Do what you do well, and keep on doing it.  Play to your strengths and plan for ways to do so.
  • FIGHT!!  Fight for your students.  Fight for what is right.  Do what you know is right.  Fight for what you need to help your students succeed.
  • Never give up!  When the fight is tough and the going is rough, DO NOT GIVE UP!  Be the hero and keep fighting.  It will pay off!

You are a hero and you are awesome!  You do amazing things…keep doing them.  Fight hard to be the hero your students need.  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Don’t forget to check out the giveaway contest on the Facebook Page.  It is over at midnight on Friday, July 5th, 2013.

Posted in Pep Talk, Reflection, Take Care of Yourself

Celebrate Teacher Times, Come On


Dear Teacher,

For those of you on summer break, what have you been up to so far this summer?  I have had a little break, as you know, but now I am back to work…at least the planning part of our job.  My school is emphasizing planning over the summer, and understandably so.  For this reason, this has been a week of intense planning for me.  After a few days of hardcore planning like this, I feel very worn out.  I don’t know how that goes for you, but it can get exhausting for me!

Or are you still in the let-last-year-fade-away phase of summer?  It was a great year, or not so great, and you just need to let the memories slide away and relax a bit so that you can be ready for the next one.  This is an important part of the summer.  We can not carry all of the stress (good or bad) from last year into next year.  A part of summer is to unwind so that you can get wound back up again.  It is vital to your teaching heart to have a little time to let last year go!  You have been emptied out and you need to fill back up!

To those teaching right now (especially the Southern Hemisphere-ers), how are things going for you?  Are you still in the easier times of the year or is it the nose-to-the-grindstone time when the students are not as excited to be in school and you have a million things to do?  Are you still pumped up and enthusiastic about all that you have to do?  Or are you tired, beat up, and on the edge of burn out?  Are you just somewhere on the roller coaster in between the too extremes?

Where ever you are in all of this, it is important to remember not to sweat the small stuff.  Almost a month ago I posted about this and encouraged you to celebrate the small stuff.  Today’s post is just a reminder to do just that!  All of the little things that annoy us, wear us down, and beat us up little by little (including those held over from last year) can become a mountain that eventually falls and crushes us.  We need to build a retaining wall against them…and we do that by celebrating all of those little things that are great every day, week, month, and year!

Another way to look at it is to think of the motivational poster I shared yesterday.  As teachers, we really are a buoy in the water there to guide, protect, and lead our students to where they need to go.  It can be lonely and hard as the “small stuff” comes in as waves and beat on us.  The thing about buoys like the one in the poster, though, is that they are held in place by an anchor.  Celebrating and remembering those little things that go well can be the anchor that holds us in place!  The waves can come, but we know why we are there and why we became a teacher.  To lead the way for a brighter future for our students!

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

So…

Summer planning teacher:

  • Celebrate what you have already finished!
  • Throw a party for the work you will not have to do during the year because you did it now!
  • Toast the great things that your students will be able to accomplish because you worked so hard to plan for them!

Summer relaxing teacher:

  • Celebrate those small changes you saw in your students throughout the year, especially the more challenging students!
  • Throw a party for the growth that you see in yourself as a teacher!  You are an even better teacher than you were at this time last year!
  • Toast the accomplishment of a year well done, no matter if it was your best year, your worst, or somewhere in between!  Teacher, you made it and now you are on the other side!

Teacher in the throws of teaching:

  • Celebrate those things that are going right!  What is working well for you right now?  Those are awesome!  Celebrate them!
  • Throw a party for those students that are truly connecting to what you are teaching!  This is why you do what you do!  Have a 10 second party for these kids once in a while!
  • Toast the things that you have been able to notice that are not working and you have changed to teach your students better!  How have you monitored and adjusted to improve student learning?  Here’s to those things!  Cheers!

Teacher, celebrate!  Dig that anchor in deep and the sweaty small stuff won’t affect you as much!  The celebrations are important.  You need them.  Don’t forget to celebrate a little something every day!

You are so awesome!  You are a great teacher!  You are making a difference!  I truly believe in you!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher