Thursday, May 22, 2014

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. - Anne Frank

To be fair, there are TONS of days when Anne Frank's wisdom doesn't apply one little bit.  Instead of improving the world it feels like we're only making everything worse - no matter what we try.

But the fantastic thing about teaching is the incredible potential of it! We never know when a new word or concept might finally be understood (despite our administrators' beliefs that learning automatically occurs when standards are plastered on the wall and the mini lesson script read verbatim).  When a kid starts using a new word or generalizing/connecting a new concept - it's like winning the teacher money in it, just pure satisfaction.

Now that your school year is coming to a close and you're feeling totally burned out from the physical and emotional exhaustion of it all, do remember how positively you have impacted the lives of your kids.  From Anne Frank's poignant words:  teachers work every day to improve  the world - one kid at a time.

Be well today and always,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The best teachers are those who show you where to look - but don't tell you what to see. - Alexandra K. Trenfor

This morning at the eye doctor one of the technicians congratulated me for being a teacher (Teacher Appreciation Week after all) and told me of her niece's decision to become a social studies teacher.  Apparently she'd had wonderful teachers over the years and then implied that teachers always encourage and motivate the best kids.  Not necessarily, I replied!  The best teachers are there for every kind of kid.  No exceptions.

And are those "best" teachers successful with all kinds of kids?  No, but they don't stop trying.  Each morning they come "armed and ready" to accommodate this impossible combination of objectives:  meet kids' needs for discovery and learning, manage difficult behaviors, provide challenges to some and remediation to others, and obediently follow their district curriculum guidelines and standards.  Then, incredibly, turn around and do it all again the next day.  phew!

My idea of a "best" teacher may or may not be the one to get highest test scores,  but is always the one who will ask more than tell and respect each and every kid's need to explore an idea or concept rather than blindly memorize it. As in the quotation: "shows where to look but not what to see."

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  Give yourself a pat on the back for the amazing work you do.

Be well today and always,