Dear Teaching Friends,
I see you over there, wringing your hands, fretting about lesson plans. I know that’s you, out to eat with your family while thinking about tomorrow’s activities. You’re second-guessing your decisions today. You’re wondering how you can do better. I bet you’re thinking about next year, even though it’s only September!
I know there’s never enough time. I know there’s dwindling support. I can feel the pressure from all sides, too. Sometimes there’s not enough training. Sometimes there’s too much. I can’t find the materials I need either, but I know they’re here somewhere! The lesson plan says to make pieces for a new game?! Ain’t no body got time for that!!
I see you worrying about each and every student, even the ones that annoy you the most. The ones that are sweet and quiet. The ones that need your love most of all. The children who need acceptance and safety bring tears to your eyes some nights… I know how you feel.
But Dearest Teaching Friends,
You are what everyone needs. Everyone needs a teacher. You’re making a difference. You work so hard to make learning fun… for you and the kids! All the time you spend preparing and worrying makes a difference. All the time you spend planning and reflecting makes a difference.
We often hear throughout life how important it is to forgive others and give people a break. I mean, we’re in the business of forgiveness and patience!
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time for you to give yourself a break. Forgive yourself. Forgiveness for all the times you made yourself feel guilty about wanting time alone. Forgiveness for all the times you doubted yourself even though your ideas were great. Forgiveness for those moments when you tried something that didn’t work and you gave yourself a hard time. It’s time we let things go. Let go of being perfect! Let go of things you cannot control. Look at those little smiles… hold on to those smiles!
If you walk out of the worst meeting ever and you need a smile… try what I do. It’s called “Hugs or High Fives?” Sometimes when my students are in a line to leave or enter the room, we say “Hugs or High Fives?” Then they pick one as they pass me and that’s what we do, simple as that. I promise it’s precious and it turns the whole day around. I enjoy this tradition so much that I do it randomly when I’m feeling low energy or whenever I need it. Today, I got 21 smiling hugs and 3 high fives. Who doesn’t love a high five?! We all walk away smiling and we get back down to business. Keep in mind, I teach second graders…
Dear Teacher Friends,
You are loved. You are appreciated. You are needed. You are important. If you love teaching as much as I do, then I know you sometimes feel the opposite of these statements. It comes with stress and stress comes with teaching. I hope that you will forgive yourselves for being unkind to yourselves– Find one habit/ activity/ tradition/ time that’s just for you and RELISH in it.
Then, when you need it, try “Hugs or High Fives”. Or, think about that poster that was around in the 80’s… the one with the little kitty dangling from a tree branch that said “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Or, I suppose you could think about it like this…