Throughout the country, teachers are sharing their story of teaching: why they came into the profession, things that potentially held them back, moments of inspiration where they knew teaching was for them, and even stories of where they know they made a difference in the life of a student. If you search social media for #whyIteach, you will find these powerful stories. You will read about educators who believe in each other. You will find a community of teachers who are all sharing the same love and passion: teaching.
This time of year we find teachers can lose the focus of their "why" and get discouraged or frustrated--possibly to where they even question why they became a teacher. A challenge for this next week is to build an optimistic outlook to the future as we reflect to the past of why we became educators. Don't forget your vision and share your #whyIteach!
The return to work after an extended break is often accompanied with a mix of emotions. During the time off, many remember that they enjoy spending time with family and friends. In fact, the time of rediscovery is something more veteran teachers eagerly anticipate and plan for. Looking forward to time off is nice. The return to work/reality is not always as eagerly anticipated. However, the question that must be raised is whether there could be another way. Is there a way to enjoy life between the breaks? Is it necessary to put family and self interests on hold with each return to work? This is a problem that many new educators struggle to solve. Striking an acceptable balance between work, home, and self interests is a tricky one. One source suggests that there are some steps that teachers can take to more easily arrive at a sort of equilibrium of work and personal life. Additionally, Andy Puddicombe makes a compelling case for regularly doing nothing.
We made it to Thanksgiving Break! Don't forget to take some time to rejuvenate and reflect on the things you are thankful for. Enjoy the holidays with your family and loved ones--leave the work at school. The papers will still be there when you get back!
Enjoy this video of some children teaching you how to cook a turkey!
Thoreau, the transcendentalist author, must have known something about the life of a teacher. He said "I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust... am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves ... for weeks and months, aye, and years almost together. I know not what manner of stuff they are of -- sitting there now at three o'clock in the afternoon." Indeed the teaching profession can become, at times, quite solitary. With only the comfort of a stack of papers needing grading, there arises a need for a more human connection. Tragically, some teachers prefer to remain in their own classroom while as Mary Oliver reminds us "There is, all around us, this country of original fire." Taking a walk through the classrooms of any school will reveal a wealth of experience. Teachers taking walks have the potential to benefit from a formative experience as it can be used to generate new ideas. That is, if the walk causes the participant to become reflective on his or her own practice. In the webinar below, Connie M. Moss & Susan M. Brookhart discuss their book Formative Classroom Walkthroughs: How Principals and Teachers Collaborate to Raise Student Achievement. In it, they share ways in which classroom walkthroughs can be used to reflect and improve teacher practice in an attempt to increase student achievement. If that is the potential outcome, it is indeed worth taking a walk.