Dear Teachers

IMG_9816Dear Teachers,

I know it is testing time. If you are not in the midst of it now, you will be soon. I wanted to take a moment of your precious time to tell you that I see you. I mean, being a teacher myself I think I can say I “get it,” but I don’t want to talk about all of “it” right now. At this moment I want to talk about what I see in you.

I see heart. I see deep commitment. I see passion. I see the ability to inspire. There is something about you that is willing to carry future generations…on your back if necessary. You pour a bit of yourself into every lesson, and while that can be so very draining, it is also what keeps you going back for more. It is the intangibles that cannot be measured, that sometimes you cannot even explain, which keep you firmly planted in your classrooms. No matter how the standards change, and change, and change. No matter how many difficult students. No matter how much paper work and documentation…you keep on going, like the Energizer Bunny.

I see perseverance. I see the eyes that are set like flint towards your students. I see the wheels of creativity turning when you try to find, yet another way to teach the same concept. It does not matter that all your teaching styles are as diverse as the kids you teach. It doesn’t matter that some of you are structured and some are more free flow. In fact, that is what makes you so beautiful. All of you. In the mosaic of differences there is a work of art. Without you, there would be pieces missing and therefore, the picture would be incomplete. With you, all of you, there is coherence, unity of purpose…even when there is not agreement of how to reach that purpose. (hahaha)

I see your strong opinions. You are not afraid to vocalize them to one another for the good of the kids. You are warriors. You fight for the children in so many ways. In every day lessons. In meetings and conferences. In the community. You speak loudly…or silently as needed. You can communicate in all venues, from the school to the ball field, to the unplanned Walmart conferences. You are a wiz at speaking gently and picking words carefully. Your ability to be flexible in all situations is amazing.

Your resourcefulness is inspiring. Finding what you need, when you need it…no matter what it costs you…is the stuff of legends. You can Pinterest and TpT in your sleep, and probably do. You are a hunter of all things…containers, bulletin board supplies, curriculum ideas, task cards, anchor charts…and beyond. At every grade level from itty-bitty’s to fully grown adults, you make it work. You make them work. You hold them to a high standard. You do not shrink back, because it is your duty to the future to impart knowledge. It is serious to you. You do not wake up in the morning and say, “I think I will unteach kids today.” “I don’t think I want my students to learn anything today.” Even on the days you feel bad, you teach. On hard days, you teach. On crazy days, you teach. Even on testing days, you teach. I see you even if no one else does.

I even see your hurt heart when it is attacked by media, parents or administrators. I see your pain when something you have worked so hard to be good at isn’t acknowledged. I see your frustration when everything you are required to do goes against what you know works. I watch the burden get heavier each year. I watch as the pressure builds both within and without, and you nod and smile…with tears just below the surface. I see you duck out of meetings before they roll down your cheeks. I see you close your door to shut out the constant voices which say, “If I were you I would….” Or “You must do it this way.” As things get uncomfortable for you I see you trying to catch up and keep up. I see you making every effort, but never feeling good enough. I see all of it…but I don’t believe it. I am here to tell you that you ARE good enough. You are more than good enough!

You are a good teacher. You do not get told that often, but I am telling you now. You are a GOOD teacher! Receive that! Believe that! You have been doing this job for years, and you know how to do it well. No matter if you’re a technology wiz, or a paper pencil throwback. No matter if you’re a small group queen or a whole group master. Embrace your teaching style. Love what you do again. Know that you have something magnificent to offer those around you. Give them your humor, or your organization skills, or your creativity, or your linear focus, or your sporadic ideas, or your vision, or your details. Whatever it is you carry, celebrate it! Share it.

Testing week is one of the worst as you watch your students give up too soon, or finish in five minutes what has taken you a year to teach. Your hair turns gray if you don’t pull it out first. This profession is not for the faint of heart, and testing week is not for those who are weak-kneed. I want to tell you that you taught your heart out. You gave them everything you possibly could. Do not let the “you didn’t do enough” voice get into your head. Give yourself some grace.  Rest in what you did and let the chips fall where they may… and know that you are fabulous and I SEE you!!

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