- Social Emotional Learning: Can It Help Our Most Vulnerable Students? - August 27, 2017
- Why We Should Teach Meditation in the Classroom - November 8, 2016
- Strike! - October 5, 2016
- Teaching a Superpower - September 22, 2016
- Essentially, I am a Teacher - August 30, 2016
- A Chicago Teacher's Dream - January 22, 2016
- A Career in Crisis - August 27, 2015
- Classroom Community and Rock-Paper-Scisssors - July 22, 2015
- The Art of Teaching - June 22, 2015
- Parent tip: Beyond Sounding It Out - June 4, 2015
I have been a dedicated teacher most of my life. It wasn’t until I was nearly 40 that I got paid to be in a classroom. I landed on my professional teaching feet in second grade room, my dream grade, at the school I wanted, with my mentor next door. It was a fantasy turned into a reality.
It hadn’t started there. I first remember teaching my 4 year old sister, Linda, what I had learned in first grade. Then, since I knew she needed to practice, I had her do my homework. It led to two of my best skills, teaching and delegation. In fact, they are so tied together in my mind that I still have a hard time delegating without wanting to teach what to do first. I have had to lighten up on that.
My life has been tipped over, turned upside down and inside out, and then had the bottom pulled out from me. Still, my essence is to teach. In many ways, I am a different person then I was twenty years ago when I began my teaching career. Yet, at the core of this apple named Lee-Ann is a teacher. What I wanted to teach twenty years ago, twenty lifetimes ago, or now, is that there is a way to find joy. Education gives us the tools for the search to achieve it.
My joy as a teacher is the light bulbs that pop on suddenly. Seeing the determination that drives a struggling student toward success fills me with delight. The surprise in the eyes of a child who has mastered something they never expected makes my soul bubble with laughter. It is a sigh of wonder. That “got it” moment moves us from mindlessness to mindfulness.
A teacher can lead and cajole but our purpose is to allow our students’ curiosity and drive to move them forward. A teacher is like the adult who first holds the back of the bicycle newly de-training wheeled. We hold it, we start to run with it as balance is found, and then let go. The letting go is the most important part. Okay, maybe having band-aids available until the next lesson, titled Using Brakes, is mastered.
My life has moved through so many phases of teaching. I began a big sister, teaching my siblings to do my chores. (I am ashamed and yet gleeful about this.) I was a mom and bookkeeper who taught many, many little and big things. I taught second grade for over a dozen years and have been substitute teacher who actually taught for a couple more. Now I have moved into teaching energy work. My fingers and souls itch to teach Reiki and mindfulness. My gift is that I can hear what the Universe wants you to learn. What a blessing.
I used to tell people that I was just a teacher. It sounded like I was diminishing my work. I wasn’t trying to. Being just a teacher is a grand thing. Recently, however, I realized that my very core, my essence is this joyful, heart filled, and grounded educator. I am not “just a teacher.” I am essentially a teacher. That is a thing to cherish and share.
What do want to learn?