Sunday, July 27, 2014

It Can Be Done

As we get our class lists every year, we often hear phrases like, “Oh… you have (insert name of extremely challenging student here) in your class.  Good luck!  You’re going to need it!”  Or the phrase, “(Name) made me cry last year… A lot.”  In which I am foolish enough to ask the question, “How much is a lot?”  And I get a response along the lines of, “Every week,” or even worse, “Every day.”

Initially, these kinds of comments make me nervous.  The kind of nervous where my palms start sweating, my heart starts racing, and I get this uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away.  But then it does go away.  Eventually.  And it all happens when I utter four simple words, “it can be done.”

It can be done. 

Thinking deeply about these students that enter our classroom with warning labels leads me to examine my own biases.  I must be open-minded and see past the labels that students come in with.  I want all of my students to experience success.  All of them.  And I know that it can be done. 

It can be done. 

No student is a lost cause.  Not yesterday, not today, and most definitely not tomorrow.  Not ever.  Each student that enters our classroom is unique.  They each have different backgrounds and experiences that shape who they are and who they become.  These students enter our classrooms with limitless potential and an endless desire to be loved.  They may push us to our limits and challenge us in ways we never thought possible.  They may make us cry and grit our teeth, but I know that they will always make us smile.  Always.  I didn’t go into teaching for the summers off or the recognition, I went into teaching to make a difference.  And that’s exactly what I plan to do – make a difference. 

 It can be done. 

And so I leave you with this…  As you enter the school year, approach it with an open mind.  Do not let what others say about a student influence how you view and treat this student.  Each student that enters your classroom does so with an open heart yearning to be loved.  Get rid of the labels.  Educate, encourage, inspire.  Make a difference in the lives of those set before you. 

It can be done. 

And it will be done.  


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gaining Perspective

This past year was one for the books.  It has been, quite literally, the most action-packed school year that I’ve experienced.  From the historic flooding to the consolidation of two great schools into one, I cannot think of a more emotional, yet hopeful school year.  Through all the changes, we remained a community- a family that formed even tighter bonds with one another.  We supported each other through the challenges, mourning the loss of what once was, but celebrating the future of what could be. 

Although I was given the opportunity to teach third grade again, I knew in my heart that I could not accept this position.  I don’t know how else to describe it, but I had a gut feeling that told me it was time for a change.  This has been one of the most difficult choices that I’ve had to make.  I’ve had so many great memories and formed so many deep friendships.  All the experiences I’ve had allowed me to view life from a new perspective.  Not only did they help shape the teacher I have become, but also the person I have become.  I am forever grateful. 

This summer, I packed up all of my belongings and moved to a different part of the state.  I’m beginning to settle in, however, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to make the transition.  It is amazing being so deeply connected to something, yet feeling so disconnected all at the same time.  I guess it just makes me that much more appreciative of the people that have been a part of this journey.  No matter the distance between us, we will always be a family.  Always. 

Looking towards the future, I am hopeful.  I have been given the opportunity to form new friendships, as well as reconnect and strengthen old friendships.  This summer has been very active, but I am taking some time to slow down and soak it all in.  I am thrilled about the new school I will be working in, the awesome colleagues I will get to learn from and work alongside, and the students that will enter my classroom in a few short weeks.  I am embracing the change and am looking forward to a very bright future filled with endless possibilities!