While reading a blog post by Love,Teach this week, I felt reassured that by my career’s standards I am completely normal. The post Don’t Date a Girl Who Teaches highlighted key behaviors a teacher exhibits in her personal life. I could connect with most of them, especially the fact that to my husband’s dismay… I LOVE a cardigan. One line that struck me while reading did not involve what normal teachers do in their downtime. Instead, it was a line that highlighted a conclusion many people reach when they think of a teacher:
“You think about movies and TV shows you’ve seen where teachers like Hilary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Zooey Deschanel charm the socks off their students, overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, and manage to do it all while looking awesome. ” – Love, Teach
While I agree that all teachers do not meet the above criteria, I do believe that all teachers want to meet the above standards. What teacher hasn’t watched The Blind Side or Freedom Writers and thought, “I want to be her.” Teachers are individuals that feel a need to help those around them. We don’t all have movies based upon our classroom’s greatest feat, but that doesn’t make our accomplishments any less honorable. Not all of us work in a title one school or have a large group of students that go without food on a daily basis, but that doesn’t make meeting the individual needs of the students in our classroom any less of a contribution to society.
This brings me to a list of things that many normal teachers have a reason to be thankful for:
At the beginning of every year teachers think, “Why did my last class have to go to 5th grade?” The good news? This month is November which means that your classroom is most likely running up to your standards. Students know how to unpack and put away their materials. They know expectations for their work. They know what the “blood, fire, vomit” rule is and how and why to respect that rule. (blood, fire, vomit rule=don’t bug me unless one of these things has happened, usually because the teacher is working with an individual or small group.)
Change. It is the one thing besides death and taxes you can count on in life. In some way this year you have made a change in a student’s life. Maybe it was impacted by teaching long division, fractions, or how a coordinating conjunction is used in a sentence. Maybe you have listened to a student while he explained a problem going on at home. In any case there is some way you have helped to develop or encourage at least one person this year.
Maybe you created something in your classroom you found on Pinterest over the summer while you were sitting on the beach drinking sweet tea. You could have found a new strategy to teach your students while collaborating on Twitter with fellow teachers (If you don’t have a group to chat with, I suggest #4thchat. We discuss every Monday from 8-9). A professional development on Common Core or the writing workshop empowered you to teach an entirely new unit. Whatever has inspired you this year, there is something you have changed. In July, we have ideas of grandeur. This is the year everything will come together. This is the year that will be different! In some way, you have made this year different, and you should be thankful for your professional growth.
The grumblings of an everyday teacher can be vast. Today, let’s focus on the positives in our lives and in our classrooms. We are the catalyst of change that make our students and our classrooms flourish.