It is often said that teaching is a challenging profession and that is true, but I imagine many professions are challenging. It isn't that teachers have the market cornered on careers that are demanding. I've worked quite a few jobs and the two toughest have been teaching and waiting tables. It is funny that I became a server after I was a teacher. I thought, "Well, I've heard serving is tough, but try wrangling 30 9th graders while convincing them to read Shakespeare!" Serving really pushed me to be able to think rapidly, interact with people both guests and coworkers and pushed me physically. You might not know this, but an 8 hour shift (often it is 10 hours) are 8 hrs ON YOUR FEET nonstop. You are legally provided a break, but most servers choose to skip it so they don't have to give up their tables (and their tips). The end result is that you work an entire day (or night) without breaks. So, yeah, teachers aren't the only ones working hard.
I follow a lot of educators on twitter. I really like twitter. If you are in the education business you should check it out. I follow tons of amazing people and participate in great twitter chats where I can talk with teachers all over the world. One of my favorites lately is @twoguysde. They are all about encouraging and empowering teachers, so they can encourage and empower their students. I love seeing their tweets because they are so encouraging. They posted one right before most teachers returned from winter break that talked about the fact that teachers set the tone in their classrooms, and if we come back exhausted and tired that first Monday, how can we expect our students to be filled with enthusiasm?
IT was a pretty profound concept, and it really pushed me to be even more thoughtful about how I approach each day. If I could harness the energy to make every single day as significant and as important as the very first day of Kinder, every student would feel not only that they mattered, but that their education was significant and crucial. These stunning awareness was deeply challenged when the day before we came back from winter break, I woke up at 3 a.m. with a really terrible flu. By that night, I was feeling much better, but weak and tired. Going into work on Monday was a real challenge - especially to approach it with the joy, creativity and seriousness that my students deserved.
And of course, this approach to every day, every block, every minute in my classroom is the same approach that I should have to every aspect of my life; striving to always show those around me how much they matter, and how thankful I am they are near me. I suppose that is what I like best about twitter -- the way that my fellow educators encourage me and spur me on to pursue the best each and every day.
Listen you, you matter profoundly. Get out there and do what needs to be done. We are all waiting. It is time to rise.
Keep moving forward,