Cheers, fellow teachers! It’s World Teacher Day! Time to start celebrating, non?

writing134Oct 5 is World Teacher Day! What are you doing to celebrate?

I started celebrating today at precisely wine-o’clock. (Cheers, Me!) I’ve been in this profession (off and on) for more than 20 years, so I figure I’ve earned a few pops, as Don Cherry would say.

Teaching is a wonderful, fun-filled, amazing career BUT if you aren’t careful, it can drive you crazy.

Two years ago, I let it drive me completely and absolutely bonkers. My long trip back from Bonkersville took me more than a year to complete, but I came back with a brand new perspective.

Teaching is a job and you need to do it to the best to the best of your ability. You have kids who depend on you and parents who trust you with their most beloved little person. But in the end it’s a job and you can’t let it run or ruin your LIFE.

So, how can you be the best teacher you can be without going bonkers?

1. Do your job. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But sometimes it isn’t. We get bogged down in paperwork and standardized tests and we forget the real reason we are there…to teach kids. So, Priority #1 everyday: teach kids. Priority#2: everything else.

2. Accept the fact that you can’t do everything, for everyone, every day. It’s called being human.

3. Take comfort in the reality that you can be replaced. Yes…comfort. Once I realized that the world of school continued to spin perfectly fine without me, I felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. It was liberating to know that, yes, I made a difference but no, the world would not stop spinning if I stepped off for a day or a year.

This is my mantra. As teachers, we can't fix everything so we have decide what we can do and what we have to let go. It's the wisdom part that gets me all the time.

This is my mantra. As teachers, we can’t fix everything so we have decide what we can do and what we have to let go. It’s the wisdom part that gets me all the time.

4. Understand that you don’t have to teach everything or fix everything in one year. There are a lot of people in the system who will help your students over the years. It’s not your sole responsibility. I’ve taught or worked with almost every grade (including university students) and one thing every grade level teacher has in common is this belief that if “I don’t do it now, next year’s teacher won’t do it and little Johnny will be screwed.” Let me put your mind at ease. All (good) teachers, at every grade (including college and university) want what’s best for students. They will be OK.

5. During the school day, shut your door – physically and metaphorically – and focus on the students inside your room. They are your priority. (If you have trouble with this one, see #1.)

6. Teach students subjects. Don’t teach subjects to students. Know your students as well as your subject and I guarantee you will have a successful year. I love the fact that my son’s math teacher is a freaking math genius, but I also love the fact that she can relate to her students and make them feel like they can do anything. That’s a win-win.

7. Take care of your health. Eat right, exercise, get your sleep. You can’t do those things if you are working all the time.

8. If you do get sick, take a sick day. Seriously…no one admires the teacher who shows up with the flu and spreads flu bugs throughout the school. Hear me now: you aren’t that important! There are subs who can keep the world of school of spinning while you recover from the mumps. And don’t forget: your health includes your mental health, too. No one likes the crazy, cranky teacher. The occasional mental health day may be the thing that keeps your career on track.

9. If your classes are anything like the ones I see, you could literally work 24-hours a day and still not meet the needs of every child, every day. Do your best and then shut it down. Make sure you have a life outside of school. (see #7)

10. Enjoy it. Yes, class sizes are often too big and curriculums change and sometimes things just don’t make sense. But kids are worth it. Being able to watch children learn and grow every day is an amazing gift. Enjoy it.

writing133

Note: This pithy advice applies to teachers like myself who experience first world problems. Teachers who work in third world countries, war zones, or in areas of extreme poverty are, in my humble opinion, teacher-saint hybrids who have my amazed admiration.

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Categories: education, Princess, Raves, Suburban, Teacher | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Cheers, fellow teachers! It’s World Teacher Day! Time to start celebrating, non?

  1. Raising my glass to all of you in teacher land … ! We owe so much of who we are to your dedication and tireless efforts … thank you!

  2. I love teachers. I have met some amazing teachers on my journey through life with my children. A few in particular have had a dramatic effect on my childrens future. I cannot praise them enough.

  3. I’ll buy you a beer, and you can buy me one!

  4. I guess I will try very hard to spend “World Teacher Day” NOT trying to align my curriculum to the CC or level my books or minutely examine ever question on last year’s standardized state tests.
    Maybe I will spend World Teacher Day trying desperately not to be a teacher for a few hours. :-(

    • Try very hard to do none of those things.
      Try instead to think of all the kids you’ve helped over the years. How did you do it? Did you do it by going over tests with a fine-toothed comb or did you do by getting to know the child? My guess is you figured out the child, not the test, and that’s how you helped.
      And pat yourself on the back. In the big scheme of things, test scores mean very little. Kids who walk out of your class feeling confident and happy and going out and spreading that into the world. That’s worth a few pops. :)

  5. Great advice, especially the last one! It’s so easy to get bogged down and lose sight of the joyful, funny, and amazing things that can happen in the classroom…

    • It’s true. We tend to get bogged down in all the politics of education and we forget why we are there. I try to let it go and let the kids amaze me and me laugh every day. I love them. The rest of it? meh. Trying (!) to keep it on the back burner.

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