As Thanksgiving approaches, I continuously reflect on what I am thankful for. While being a teacher sure can be frustrating (Who can tell Tommy what page we should be on?), and at times aggravating (How many SGO’s do we have to do?), it is important to remember how rewarding and enjoyable it is. There are a few things this year that I am particularly thankful for.
1. Students who are eager to learn
Clearly, there are those few students who are not eager to learn (or who may not be eager to learn the subject or lesson you are teaching). Those students can be a challenge, but I try not to let them discourage me. I know I won’t be able to reach every kid. However, I feel refueled and rejuvenated by students who simply try, ask questions, make mistakes, and try again. It is that simple. And when a student is able to forget about the grade and focus on the skills and the fun of learning, amazing things can happen.
2. Parents who want to see their children learn, be challenged, and grow (not just get an A and call it a day)
I cannot express how much I love parents who understand the role of education. At times, I feel the strong need to put out a PSA explaining to parents that education is not just a stepping stone to the rest of their life – it is a journey that should be embraced and enjoyed. Sometimes it is challenging and kids won’t always get it right, and that’s ok. Students come in to sixth grade language arts asking my least favorite question: “How many sentences should this be?”, and my heart breaks a little. My hope is that by the time they leave me, they are asking not how many sentences or paragraphs or pages they need, but “Do you think this piece is effective?”. When more parents value the ups and downs of education, students will too.
3. Professional Development
There is nothing that I love more than waking up knowing that I have a day of professional development ahead of me. Seriously. I get pumped up for workshops and especially for conferences and conventions. Over the summer I attended Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s week-long Summer Reading Institute at Columbia University and I loved every minute of it. The wheels in my head are constantly turning and I am always trying to figure out how the new ideas and tools I am learning about can be implemented in my classroom. This past weekend I attended EdCampNJ, an “unconference” – meaning that the sessions are created the day-of, based on what attendees are interested in (an attendee can even be a presenter!). I gained a wealth of information about apps, digital tools, and assessments (not to mention…it was FREE, they provided breakfast, and gave door prizes). Whether professional development comes in the form of a conference, an institute, a methods book, or even Twitter and Pinterest, I always come out of the experience with new ideas and more confidence than before.
In this day and age, wireless seems to be something we take for granted. However, at my school we have just recently received wireless in our classrooms. This opens up a world of possibilities with the tablets we have available. It also allows me as the teacher to access student information, my notes, student grades, and meeting notes at the tip of my fingers. I am very excited to spend the rest of the year exploring this new technology!
Whatever you may be thankful for this Thanksgiving, remember to appreciate it and try to hold on to the fuzzy warm feelings throughout the rest of the year!
Enjoy the holidays!