Saturday, November 8, 2014

A November Blogging Challenge, A Big Job!

We've got a BIG job!
And in the words of my teaching partner Cindy, 
"We put our whole heart into it every day."

When I started this blog, it was my intention to follow the advice given to Skeeter in Kathryn Stockett’s book, The Help.  It was suggested that she "Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else."  

Not that I intend my blog to revolutionary or even challenging.  It’s that I am a teacher who questions the purpose of everything I do.  I value efficiency and relevance.  Everything that happens in my classroom is intentional.  So, I question the activities that don’t seem to fulfill my intent. To make a difference, I think we need to do things differently. Last year's November file, won't meet the needs of this November's 2nd Graders.

But back to the topic. Here’s what has been bugging me lately.  This is the thing I wish were different.

Worrying, complaining, blaming, criticizing.  

We don’t mean to do it.  We really do love each other.  We really do appreciate the great teaching that happens here.  But we don’t say it.  We don’t tell each other.  At Thursday’s staff meeting, the most frequently heard phrase was… "but, we have such a hard job!"  It’s like when I grump at my kids and then say, I’m so sorry boys it’s just that I didn’t sleep very well last night with this stupid cold.  I’m sorry friend, I know you wanted my help but I just couldn’t do that one more thing.  I’m sorry teacher-across-the hall, I wasn’t really complaining about you it’s just that I have too many (kids, new curriculum standards, expectations), too much (to do, to learn, to prep, to read) and not enough (time, energy, books, resources, materials).

Wouldn't it be easier, just to stop?  One of the things too many, that I know we can let go of, is the complaining.

Let's remember why we do this job that we love.  Let's remember that we love this job!

So the Te@chthought #reflectiveeducator blog challenge Teaching Through An Attitude of Gratitude comes at the perfect moment in my year.

And coincidentally, last week I also discovered the twitter #sunchat where teachers are spreading the #edjoy with each other and the world.  Here is their manifesto.

So the November blogging challenge begins!  
I’ve got a little catching up to do:

1. Best part of being a teacher - The positive energy that bursts from my 2nd graders every day!

2. One small delight I look forward to every day - Playing my guitar and singing with the kids who don’t mind at all if I am a little off key or miss a beat.

3. Most proud of in my teaching career - When a kid or a parent comes to me to say that I have made a difference.  “He loves reading now!”  “I am so glad she has you for a teacher!”

4. The nicest gift I have received - A note that says “thank you for… incorporating music every day, your creative ideas, challenging my child, communicating well…”  It means so much when a parent or student notices and appreciates something specific (though the “you are the best teacher ever” cards are nice too).

5. What are my strengths and which am I most grateful for? - I am reflective, I love learning, and I am a thinker.  I am most grateful for my varied experience in education.  I think it provides me with perspective and an appreciation for diversity.

6. A quote that has inspired me - Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  We live in a culture of BIG and I don’t believe this is best. 

7. What new learning has inspired me? - Learning a second language has given me insight into what it is to be a learner… how it feels to be in the “silent period”, how it feels to be the only speaker of my language in the room, how it feels to be challenged out of my comfort zone.  Reflecting on what helps me learn, has helped me find ways to support learners in my classroom.

8. A memorable moment that reminds me of why I teach - a mom and dad at conferences who told me how great it felt to be parents talking with their daughter’s teacher about what a great kid she is!

And my first #edjoy on the topic of fun:
Good morning I love talking with others who are excited about learning at 6am on a Sunday morning. Fun!