Remember the Why

Even though teachers have existed for hundreds of years, we have not found a way to make teaching easy. That’s because we’re dealing with people, and people are always changing. In spite of this, it’s one of the most important jobs in our society. It’s not only about feeding students information, but it’s about helping kids become better people.

Like any job, I sometimes get caught up in all things I need to do. I need to create lesson plans. I need to grade this set of tests. I need to call this parent. When this sort of task list consumes me, it’s hard to see the truly important things happening with my students. It’s hard for me to find the drive to reach deeper inside myself to give more when interacting with students. Teaching becomes, well, hard.

Lately the principal at my school has been pushing for all the teachers to remember why we do what we do. After a series of emails and staff meetings, I’m thinking it’s finally getting through my thick skull. That’s why I’ve decided to start writing in my blog again. I need a place to reflect and recall some of the good things that happen in my classroom. I need a place to put down all the positive things that kids say and do. As I cling to “the why” and jot down the noteworthy interactions with students, it will help me brush off those bad days and press onward at school.

Here we go…

Noteworthy moment from this past Friday: One student, normally passive in the classroom, saw another student that was having a bad day and decided to do something about it. Her eyes unglazed, she stood up, and proceded to spend a little time listening and quietly counseling her classmate. Was she off-task from the lesson? Yes. Was she out of her seat? Yes. However, sometimes there are moments when a little relationship investment pays off. The rest of the students in the room, previously distracted by a girl’s breakdown, were able to ignore the quiet whispers and move on with the lesson. Learning happened, a girl’s bad day was turned around, and a student showed me she’s not quite as passive as I previously presumed.

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