Being a teacher means growing a family.
Sometimes, I wonder if I'll ever actually need to have kids. When every year ends -- when every chapter concludes -- I leave feeling like I'll never recreate what I've built. While it’s true that it will never be recreated, every new school year, I’m reminded that teaching gives us countless experiences to grow — not recreate — ourselves and our network of those we care about. Instead of certain years being “better” or “worse,” each of those years allow us opportunities to fill in pieces of ourselves that weren’t there before.
Being open to new ideas doesn’t mean throwing your core values away.
Fitzgerald once said that, “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” It’s possible to adhere to your values and welcome in the values of others. Likewise, it’s possible to try something new without compromising what you believe to be true about teaching.
Having a teaching team is the best thing that any teacher can do.
Being a bonafide control freak, I knew this was going to be challenging for me this year. I was used to having my own classroom and being able to make my own decisions all the time. Having a teaching team has forced me to slow down, think more, and consider more alternatives when helping my kids. A teaching career is incomplete without the opportunity to co-teach.
The best kind of teacher is an authentic one.
Kids can sense disingenuousness. They may not be able to diagnose or name it, but they certainly can tell when you’re being phony. Give them the true “you,” and they’ll love you for it.
Teaching is vulnerability.
Teaching means to constantly give of yourself, and to constantly allow yourself to be changed and modified by your environment. Without opening yourself up and without letting yourself be seen, you create an environment where others feel like they cannot do the same. Kids need to be open in order to learn, and they can only learn how to do that if the teacher is doing this first.
Teaching is love.
It’s a shame that society has tried to turn teaching into a benign practice. Teachers fear giving students hugs nowadays, and teachers all over the country are constantly trying to protect themselves by keeping their distance. But to learn with someone is to love them unconditionally. It’s to accept them as is, let them in, and give of yourself without stipulation.
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