Do We Like Gentle Reminders??
I was recently avoiding working on curriculum writing, obsessing over a new house I want to buy, vegging out on Facey Face, mining the Interwebs for interesting and thought provoking material to share with my lovely readers when I came across this tidbit in Ed Week which gently reminds us to stop complaining and to remember the great things about teaching.
But I kind of like complaining. Sometimes. Although, yes, I get where he is going with this…complaining all the time makes us feel negative, makes us look bad and sound bad and doesn’t really do anything to solve a problem. Duly noted.
And I’m not really sure that I want to be reminded why teaching is so great when sometimes it feels so thankless and hard and the idea of acknowledging the warm fuzzies will just make me feel like a selfish jerk and how does that help anything?
Ooo. Just re-read that last paragraph and while I could take it out, it’s pretty honest yet not very Zen. What about my promise to be more Zen in 2008, 2010 and 2012? (Wait, can we reflect on that for a moment? One – I have been blogging for FOUR YEARS?! When did that happen? Two- What happened to my desire for Zen in 2009 and 2011? Did I achieve Zen and forget it? Three – I used to be really funny – did you read these old posts? Is it wrong to laugh at your own writing? Discuss.) Must. Find. Zen.
Intrigued, I read on to discover this teacher’s top five reasons to love teaching. If you can’t open the link I provided above, here’s the rundown on this teacher’s perspective including my two cents.
1. Teaching includes countless small wins. As in those moments with your students that remind you why you’re a teacher. Those moments when the lights go on, they say something hilarious or you share a moment with your class that makes it feel like a little family. Immediately, I think of my Vegetarian Busdriver friend and our first lunch date, so yes, those small wins are good ones. For me, they are sometimes the only thing that keeps me from running out of the building like my hair is on fire.
2. You can focus your efforts and do what is best for your kids. I’m not sure how this teacher manages to get away with this one. First of all, that mountain of useless paperwork that you are constantly ignoring in an effort to stay focused on your students and will not allow to creep into your “personal time?” Yeah, it’s not going away. And, at least in my experience, someone’s a gonna come a lookin’ for that paperwork and it’s not going to be pretty when you point to a big ‘ol pile of not completed. Is there too much paperwork and extraneous responsibility placed on the shoulders of teachers? Yes. Is it wise to set boundaries and to maintain a focus on your students? Why yes it is. Is it possible to simply ignore said paperwork? Not in my world. And, may I ask why you have chosen to list this reality as a reason to love teaching?
3. It’s not a desk job. True that, my friend. I haven’t sat in years. And that is a beautiful thing.
4. We are encouraged to play with technology. Encouraged? Yes. Enabled and supported? Not so much. I envy teachers working in schools that are jumping into the world of technology, but, just as often I see classrooms with four crusty desktops, three of which don’t have internet access and only one of which can print.
5. There are no limits to professional growth and exploration. Amen. We can nerd out all the live long day.
So, do with this what you will. Lately, I’ve been thinking that my biggest issue is that I allow teaching to take over every available second I have in addition to some of my unavailable seconds. Every minute I’m not doing something that meets the needs of my family, I am thinking about teaching, teachers, kids and curriculum. I’m all Dorothy and the Wizard of Overextended up in here – “Teaching and standards and kids, oh my!” There is no way I can fully appreciate what I love about this job when I never get a minute to step away from it. I think that is the bottom line for me.
Hope you can all find a minute to take a step back this week.