What kind of teacher would you say you are? A great one? Dynamic? Getting there? A work in progress? All of the above?
I talk to so many educators and many of them are self deprecating by nature. You know, you compliment them on something they did, an idea they shared and they can be so quick to point out the error of their ways.
Are teachers just humble to a fault or do they truly believe to their core that they aren't really as good at this gig as they want to be, or aren't rockin' it out like their teacher-neighbor, or that blogger that really seems to know their stuff?
Do you know the saying... "Comparison is the thief of joy?"
You see that teacher that you think is "highly effective" or "innovating" and you think...
"Gosh, I'm not doing enough."
I have a lot of teachers in my life. My husband is a teacher. Many of my dearest friends are teachers. I engage in a lot of teacher conversations. A LOT.
Like so many of you, teaching is more than a profession; it's a hobby.
Mostly, the conversations I have are enlightening, fun, interesting and motivating...
But sometimes they can be disheartening. I've heard teachers say they would never encourage another person to go into this field. While, I understand that - because I do, I urge them to dig really deep inside and remember WHY they chose this profession. It wasn't for the kudos and accolades it was because they love children and want to help them move the mountains in their lives.
Another comment I hear SO often is that more and more they end their days not feeling like they did enough and this feeling has become more and more overwhelming.
Whether you're a teacher or not, I'm sure we can all appreciate that to-do list that goes on for weeks. A day will end and you'll find yourself thinking there are never enough hours. Right?
We can all relate.
Real talk here...
I think it's not so much the physical things that are weighing some teachers down - like cleaning your desk, filing papers, grading work - I think it's the heavy feeling of ending each day and thinking you didn't reach enough students. Not that this is anything new - I mean, we've always felt like we could DO more...but the shift is that we may end our days feeling like we DIDN'T DO ENOUGH for our students. That's different - do you see that? That effects your mindset.
Years ago, I might end my days thinking, "Man, that science lesson was so awesome it went long and I didn't have time to do social studies. Oh well, I'll get to that tomorrow." To me, that was a good thing - I went with the teachable moment. Now, it seems that if we don't get to every lesson we're harder on ourselves - like somehow we've shortchanged our students and need to work harder to
"do it all."
I urge you to flip your thinking.
You ARE doing the best that you can. It still is about the teachable moment. You may not get to everything and that means you are a fantastic teacher.
No teacher does it all, all of the time.
Be forgiving of yourself and know that while it's important to hone your craft and look for ways to fit more in and maximize your time...
It's also important to realize you are awesome. Don't compare and if you do use it to your benefit - to motivate and inspire you to move your own mountains.
Are you a great teacher?