- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
Every day in life you make decisions. Some of them are made in haste, quickly, in a split second. Some decisions are thought out and planned and discussed. Sometimes we eventually see results or the effects of decisions. Many times, however, we never know what effect a decision has had on anyone. We decide, react, do and life moves on.
Today I made a small decision. It was thought out, but it took minimal effort on my part and less than five minutes of my time. I have a past student; we all have a student, who has a family situation that places him in need right now. I know things are rough. I know money is tight. I know he goes without. I had ordered a bundle of socks, simple socks, nothing fancy socks, just socks online. My own teen age son took two pairs and I brought the other four pairs to school. I like to keep a few gift bags and tissue paper in my bottom desk drawer so I gathered a few of the gift bags, tissue paper, and my Reebok socks. When my past student, let’s call him Luke, had a time I could pull him from the classroom I grabbed him. I gave him the socks and explained they were brand new. I told him I thought he might like to keep three pair and give the fourth pair to his brother as a gift for Christmas. Luke spent a few minutes looking at the socks. He commented on how nice they were, thick, warm, soft. He took one pair and with great care gently wrapped the socks in the tissue paper. He picked a bag and put them inside. “Thank you!”
Every day, in our classrooms, we are faced with decisions. We make so many of them in hast, quickly, in a split second. We make them as we plan and implement lessons. We change course and quicken the pace or backtrack to recover material. We pick out books to read aloud. But we are human and we bring our personality, attitude and emotions to our classroom every day. During the winter cold, indoor recess, the excitement of break approaching, Christmas coming, and grades due soon, teaching becomes even more stressful than usual. But we continue to make decisions. Those decisions, just as all decisions, ripple through lives of others and have an effect.
In the classroom what you do matters. Your students see what you do, what you chose not to do and they know how you feel about them. When you decide to smile, ask someone about their evening, forgive forgotten homework, buy a million pencils to share, stop and offer help, give a compliment, take a deep breath before answering, ask how you can help ; every decision matters. Someone notices. You may not get the “Thank you!” I got for simply buying socks, but it is there, unspoken.
The holidays are stressful. Being a teacher is stressful. Remember to set aside time to reflect on your day and how things went. Find what you need to keep a positive presence with your students; stash chocolate in your desk, talk with a colleague, exercise, and laugh. As we work our way through the crazy remember why you go to work every day. Remember why you started this path. Remember that what you do matters. You are on the downside of the holiday hill with a break in the near future. Enjoy these last few weeks with your students and thank you for making a difference every day.