Friday, August 3, 2018

Before School Starts...

Summer is winding to a close and many teachers are returning to their classrooms to decorate, get things ready and begin the new school year. I for one know the feeling of sadness, excitement, and worry that seem to embody any teacher starting another school year. It seems like a cycle is ending and a new beginning is just on the horizon. We all feel that little bit (if not more) of sadness rush us knowing that once again we will be back to work. So long are the days of sleeping in, enjoying the time to ourselves, and the all-important ability to pee when needed. Soon our schedule will not be so free, but instead will be full of meetings, meeting our new students, planning and so much more. The closer time ticks towards these moments the shorter the sighs of sadness become and instead we muster ourselves together to take on the challenge of a new year.

I have met two types of teachers. Some who dread returning and are tortured by it for they are the ones that lost their spark, their twinkle. Other teachers may have a moment or two of dread, but as they begin they are fully committed and excited to start the new year. These are the teachers that spend hours on Pinterest, in teacher stores and roam Target finding, creating, and buying things to make their classroom even better. Some decorate and make their room look magical and amazing. Others work hard to change their lessons or create something that makes students so excited they don't even realize they are learning. Tis the season of the bright-eyed teachers full of wonder and zeal ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

That excitement and joy are what we all need. We need to look at the new school year for what it is, a fresh start. We are getting a chance to start over with new students and try things we might never have done before. To that, I say BE BRAVE! Push yourself out of the box and try something new. Ask for help and be open with those around you about your failures and successes. We, teachers, need to be willing to take risks for us, as well as our students, to grow.

I recently posted in a Twitter chat that you can choose to worry, but it will get you nowhere, or you can choose to run, it will get you somewhere. I hold true to that as the time ticks down. I can choose to worry about "what if's" and be full of self-doubt or I can choose to run. I can choose to run after my dreams, try new things, and just be willing to push myself further this year. I might fall, I might look silly, I might make mistakes, but what if I soar? I will learn from every triumph and every failure and be a model for my students. I think as teachers we preach to our students about how it is ok to make mistakes, but sometimes we fear to make them ourselves. We have to be willing to put ourselves out there and try something new. I'm not saying change everything overnight, but try one or two big things this year. Take a leap and reflect. You never know what is possible unless you try.

Now there might be naysayers. People who doubt you and/ or your students. Block them out. You have to be your own champion and your students champion too! I have always loved being the underdog. People will count you out before you begin and then you have nowhere to go but up. If you put in the time, reach out to others for help and support, the sky is the limit.

Now that we are in a digital age there is support at your fingertips. You can find people to talk to on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. Don't be afraid to ask questions, ask for help, or just share because the teaching community is strong and supportive. You will find amazing people out there who are running just like you and have similar goals. Don't be afraid to run together and learn from one another.

With that being said don't fill yourself with doubt or fear. I know right now there are a million lesson ideas and classroom designs being posted. Don't let it get you down. Don't think you have to do it all! There are some amazing teachers doing amazing things out there, but just because your room doesn't look like that or just because you aren't creating something doesn't mean you aren't amazing too. I have gotten sucked into that Instagram rabbit hole where you look at all these amazing classrooms. Everything is perfectly organized, beautiful anchor charts, amazing lesson plans already made. I am not that teacher and though I try I am not perfect. But that is ok with me. I know what I do works for me, my students, and my classroom. Do I still try changing things a little bit? Yes, but I never try to weigh myself down with changing too much.

I say this to remind you that you are awesome! You are working in a profession where you get to impact lives and make a difference. No matter how small you are doing amazing things. Don't worry and fret, but instead smile when the new school year begins. Be open to taking on any challenges that come your way and learn from them. I'm in your corner rooting for you! You Got This!!!

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