- Staying Within Law: Special Education Teachers and IDEA - September 1, 2020
- Teaching With Minecraft EDU - April 3, 2019
- Self-Care Is Priority One for This Teacher - February 13, 2019
- Preparing Students For Teacher Absences - February 12, 2019
- Respect in the Classroom: Earned, Not Expected - February 11, 2019
- Dissing the Family Crazies: A Christmas Story - January 6, 2019
- Band-Aiding The Mental Health of Our Children - November 23, 2018
- We Must Love Them - November 5, 2018
- Take One For the Team: The Need for Self-Care - August 19, 2018
- The New Teacher Smell - August 19, 2018
Charles Swindoll said, “Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, money, circumstances, than failures and success, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, ability or skill. It will make or break a business, a home, a friendship, an organization. The remarkable thing is I have a choice every day of what my attitude will be. I cannot change the inevitable. The only thing I can change is my attitude. Life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.”
Oh my. It’s so much easier to pass the blame than it is to make changes to ourselves; even the smallest of changes. I’ve been experiencing this personally for several months now. Usually, I embrace change, but at this point in my life, I’m digging in my heels and screaming. In fact good ole Chuck would say I’m “fighting against the inevitable.”
If I had to choose three life principles that I hope I have instilled in my students over the past twenty years of my teaching career, I’d have to say they would be attitude, responsibility and respect for others and property, in that order. But have I demonstrated those principles to my students or have I just expected them to demonstrate them to me?
We need to revisit the model of successful communication, which includes active listening and active speaking. By the time the groundhog popped out of his hole in Pennsylvania, I was already counting down the days until the last day of school. Screw spring break. That week had nothing on Friday, May 13, as I can twirl on the mountaintops (um, molehills) of Oklahoma and breathe in the smell of freedom (really plane exhaust, since TER is holding a one-day conference in NYC on Saturday, May 14! Come join us! Register here!) The kids aren’t the only cabin-fevered, Vitamin D deprived, exhausted, checking-out creatures on the planet, you know.
Yet if I would like for my little ones to create a second and third grade Dante’s Inferno in my classroom for the next 22 days, all I have to do is walk in, frustrated about testing, parent conferences, my personal problems and classroom behavior issues with children, bark at them, frustrate them, hurry them, complain, then sit back and watch the games unfurl. I will want to eat every last one of them, and I sure don’t need all of those carbs! Or I can check my own attitude, setting up my classroom for success by being settled and content, demonstrating problem-solving and patience to a roomful of cooped-up little people who more than likely have already seen their grown-ups fuming flames or with heads spinning enough to cause little brains to seek a fight or flight mode before arriving at school.
Yes, the last days are hard. Yes, requirement upon requirement has been heaped upon our shoulders. Yes, it sucks.
But each of us is trying to create changes in these big-ticket items and we know it doesn’t happen overnight.
Don’t’ steal the joy of your little people. Demonstrate what you want them to become. This is one of very few things you have complete control over. Use that control.