Are We There Yet? Exhaustion and Last Days…


Dear Teacher,

It is drawing ever nearer to the last days of school (if you aren’t already there).  You are tired.  No…strike that.  You are completely and utterly exhausted.  This school year has done you in.  You are so done with all of the chaos and drama.

And you deserve to feel that way…it has been a TOUGH year.

You have made it through, but only barely.

The last weeks and days of school are a light at the end of the tunnel, and you feel like your students do right before the buses come.  You are just watching that clock.

Image Source: Wikimedia (Wikipedia)

You keep waiting for the seconds to tick down.  And they feel slow incredibly slow.  Why can’t it just be over.  You need it to be over.

Let me remind you, it is almost time.  You are almost there.

You need this summer…and summer’s coming, friend.  Summer is coming!

It is okay that you’re worn out right now.  If you weren’t, I would be worried that there is something wrong with you or if you might actually be a superhero…or alien…or both.  This year has been rough, and you should be tired in every way shape and form.

And for this reason, it is also okay to be excited about your coming “break” – even with all of the work you have to do eventually over the summer…it still counts as a break.  You get to recharge.  You get to relax.  You get to unwind from the stress of this year.

DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You have done well this year, my Teacher Friend.  You have made a difference this year, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.  You have earned the right to look forward to the summer.  You have my permission to watch the clock.  🙂

You are an amazingly awesome teacher!  You will always be.  Enjoy the rest of the year!  Keep on clock-watching…errr…I mean teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

 

 

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Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes


Dear Teacher,

I know that is has been a long time since I have written to you.  It has been quite a school year, and I am entering a time of transition.  Before I get to that, let’s talk about this past year.

How did it turn out for you?  How did everything go?  If you are reading this, you made it out alive, so that is something.  🙂

Image: http://www.firstgradenest.com/

It was quite a year for me.  There is not one word to describe it.  It was challenging.  It was trying.  It was stressful.  It was enlightening.  It was strange.  It was insightful.  It was life-changing.  It was.  It just was.

I don’t know that I had a more difficult year with students.  It wasn’t their behavior so much as it was their attitude towards learning.  In a time when the stakes could not be higher for students to show growth, it seemed like my students were the least interested in growing.  Was it like that for you this year?

That made teaching rough.  I believe in students having the responsibility of learning and turning that responsibility over to them throughout the year.  So many did not want to take those reigns from me.  My classroom was student-centered, but I found that I wound up in the center so many times just to get through content.

I learned a lot about motivating students and a lot about motivating myself.  How do I keep going with the idea of being brain-centered and student-centered when it seems like I am gaining so little ground.  I learned to keep my head down and keep going down the road and trusting what I know is right for my students…but it was hard.  Very hard.  That is one of the reasons that I wrote so little to you this year.

But I made it.

You made it.

We made it!

I want to encourage you, Teacher.  If it was a hard year for you, as it was for me, there is hope.  You can do anything for a year and then you can look forward to the next.  You know what is right for your students, even if they do not.  Take some time and reflect this summer.  What went right?  What went wrong?  Where do you need to dig in and keep going?  What are some things you can let go of next year?

Keep on keeping on.  Do what you know is right.  Take a stand for what needs to be stood up for.  Be the awesome teacher that you are.

Not every year will go well.  Sometimes there will be a string of bad years.  Sometimes your working environment will be challenging.  Sometimes you will want to pack it in.

Remember one thing, though.

Your students need you.  They really do.

If you keep doing what is right, day after day and year after year, things will eventually go right for you in ways that you know you are going in the right direction.  Trust me.

wpid-storagesdcard0MemesAwesome-High-School-Teacher.jpg.jpg

A little about my life and transitions…

After nine years of trying to be the best teacher that can be at a Title I school and having strings of difficult years, there has been a change.  My hard work was noticed.  I was hired to work at my district’s science center.  I will be moving out of the traditional classroom and be teaching students from all over my district and my area throughout the year.

It was difficult to pack up and leave my school for good after being there for so long…there were some tears…but I know that this is right.  I am going to love every minute of my new job and I will be able to help more students fall in love with learning and help other teachers learn new ways to foster that love in students, too.

That being said, that leaves this blog in a state of flux.  I need a little feedback here.

Since I will no longer be in the normal classroom, will you still accept my encouragement and advice here?  How can I stay current with the struggles that you have in your classroom?  How can I change the format of the blog to help you stay encouraged?

One thing I know that I can do is offer for you to email and let me know of a struggle in the classroom you are having.  I can write directly to what you are going through here (keeping out any personal information).  Would that be a helpful aspect to this blog?  (My email is dearteacher@outlook.com.)

Let me know any ideas that you have!  Thanks!

Teacher, take some time for yourself this summer.  Find ways to recharge and heal from the year.  Don’t spend too much time getting ready for the next round.  Just be for a while.  Just be.

Image: http://www.teachjunkie.com

You are so awesome!  I know that next year will be even better than this one was!  Keep on doing what is right and keep on teaching, teacher!

Love, Teacher

New Start – New Year


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

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

Dear Teacher,

I know that you haven’t heard from me in quite some time.  I am sorry for that.  Know that I am still here and that you are still awesome!  I haven’t given up on you and I haven’t given up on me.  Time away was needed, but now I am back.

I know that it is summer (for my Northern Hemisphere teacher friends), but I also know that you are a great teacher.  You are already thinking about next year.  You have had a few weeks of a break and now you are thinking about the students that will be sitting in the desks that sit in your classroom.  This is what makes you great.

You can’t stop your “teaching brain,” and this is a good thing.

The other night, I was playing Jenga with my son.  We had some nice rounds of moving the blocks, but in the end the tower always tumbled.

When I looked at the pieces after one long match, it hit me that no matter how the game went it always ended but no matter how it ended we can always rebuild and start again.

Isn’t that the same with life?

No matter how things go, things always end.  No matter how things end, we can always start again.

This applies even more so with teaching.  Jenga is a pretty great analogy to our profession, if you think about it.

We start the year as a strong tower, ready to go.  Through the year we go through times of being taken apart and put back together.  In the end, no matter what, we feel like a puddle of bricks (in some way or another) ready for a reboot.  We take the summer and rebuild so that we can start again.

Teacher, I don’t know how last year ended for you.  I don’t know what kind of mess your bricks are in.  I don’t know how worn your blocks are.  But you can rebuild.  You can start again.  You will start again.

Take the rest of the summer and try to build your tower stronger.  Relax.  Reflect.  Rebuild.  Think about what went right and what went wrong.  Look for what you could do better.  Research a little.  Read a lot.  Find new ways to do the old stuff.  Be a better tower…even if you know it will just be blocks and bricks at the end of the next year.

This is what you do.  This is who you are.  And you are AWESOME at it.  Keep going and never give up!

Build, Teacher.  Build.

Your are awesome!  I totally believe in you!  Have a great rest of the summer and build that tower better than ever!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Jenga

The End is Near


Dear Teacher,

I know your job is hard, but you are almost at the end. Don’t give up! But don’t just power through. Savor these last weeks of the year with your students! You have precious time left with your kids. Minutes count down. The grains of sand in the hour glass are slipping down. Your time to influence, inspire, and initiate lifelong curiousity is fading away. Do not waste a second with your students! Let them know how much you care. Teach until the last milisecond. Work hard to give your children the spirit of learning that will follow them long after your time with them is done. Summer is just around the corner. Pour your life out for your kids. You have time to fill back up!

You are awesome and you are supported. Keep teaching, teacher!

Love, Teacher

For more hope and encouragement: @DearTeacherLT