Sunday, July 20, 2014

Find the Reason You Became a Teacher

Find the Reason You Became a Teacher
I am working on a team this summer where we are tasked with planning the training for the entire school year.  During our sessions, we have had discussions about new initiatives.  One of our primary concerns is how to get those who are resistant to new concepts to reconsider their thinking. To foster this, we have developed ideas to assist in this transition with the hope that they will buy into the new initiatives and address them with as much enthusiasm as we do.  Basically, it comes down to remembering why you became a teacher and learning to fall in love with your job again. 

As I have been reading, Whole Brain Teaching for the Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle, I made a connection between the perceived challenges we, as a professional development  team, were facing and his sentiment in chapter 3 of this book.  According to Biffle, there seven ways teachers can avoid exacerbating challenging student behaviors:
  1. control your temper
  2. confront challenging students when they don't have an audience
  3. be organized
  4. fall in love with your profession
  5. work hard at teaching, when you are not in class
  6. understand that your students are not your clones
  7. grow or die
Number four, five and seven presented me with an "Ah ha" moment.  Teaching is one of those careers that becomes embedded in your personality.  You live and breathe it.  I agree that there are those days that you feel so overcome by the paperwork, challenging students, meetings, and new initiatives that you want to close the classroom door behind you and turn that part of you off.  On those days, it is important to remember why you are there in the first place. 

I remember the moment I knew that I wanted to become a teacher.  I was sixteen and helping my sister, a first grader, do her homework.  She was having such a hard time with her reading and I recall how frustrated she was.  It reminded me of when I was her age and hated school.  Reading was so hard for me too.  I just didn't get it.  Sitting there with my sweet little sister on the cold basement floor, I assured her that everything would be fine and that I was there to help her.  As I slowly guided her through the words in her sentences, breaking them down, so she could sound them out, something inside of me changed.  I had discovered a new driving force and I knew, in that moment, that I wanted to be a teacher.  At the young age of sixteen, I had a deep desire to instill a LOVE of reading in children.  

Over the past twenty years, I have developed that passion. I have spent my career growing and learning.  Chris Biffle was right when he said, "Grow or die."  Research and best practices are always changing and our students are constantly morphing.  If we don't choose to change and grow with them, we become stagnant.  Fearing that this would make me ineffective, I never stop learning.  So, on those days that I want to close the door and never look back, I have to remind myself of why I am a teacher.  It helps renew my spirit and enables me to go in everyday with an spring in my step and a sparkle in my eye.

What was your driving force to become a teacher?  What is your story?

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Balancing Act of Summer

Throughout my whole life, I have judged the beginning of the end of my summer vacation by the 4th of July.  For the most part, it isn't even a midpoint.  I guess it is because there are no other holidays to look forward to or be distracted by.  So...the countdown has begun.  Five more glorious weeks before preplanning begins and six more weeks until I meet my new crop of kindergarteners.

At this point, I feel the need to take an inventory of my mental "To Do List" and well...I better get cracking.  The trouble is my original list has been expanded.  I should know better by now.  These lists are always wishful thinking.

Original To Do List
  • Read How to Create and Use Rubrics 
  • Reread Becoming a Reflective Teacher
  • Attend week long workshop in June
  • Attend a week long workshop in July
  • Buy WBT for Challenging Kids
  • Get Whole Brain Certification
  • Start a blog
  • Finish WBT book study
  • Start Teachers Pay Teachers Store
To Do List Additions
  • Read Daily 5 Second Edition
  • Add more items to TPT Store
  • Organize my Pinterest boards

Well, as you can see, I have accomplished a few things.  However, it's not near my expectations. In fact, some of these items have been on my list since last summer.   There is a delicate balance we teachers have in the summers.  It's our time to give our families the extra love and attention that has been snagged from them all year long.  However, in our heads is a running checklist of all the "things" we want to complete before the next school year.  I have five weeks left.  Yikes!