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This might be my favorite set of blog posts to make! I LOVE thanking people and sharing funny stories. Continue to check this set of blog posts to see you are the subject I’m thanking and the subject of my vote. I will be thanking people that are amazing teachers, stand-out employees, or all-round phenomenal people! I will be voting (and writing, of course) for those of you guys who bring us the funny kid stories that keep us going! If you have a funny student story that you’d like me post, just shoot me an email, and I will make it happen (but only if it’s inspirational and positive, and no names are used). I will also be posting occurrences that happen here at our conference center that get my vote! So, let me start by issuing my first THANK YOU and my first VOTE…they both go out to YOU!
Many years ago, my husband and I attended our 20th high school reunion. My husband and I had all the same friends all through school because we were “boyfriend and girlfriend” during all those years. Our reunion was like any other: old friends, new kids, sharing updates, and enjoying the company of some of our most favorite people we will ever know. As the evening waned on, our closest friends, and the two of us, were sitting around a huge round table and telling stories of yesteryear.
Then someone said it, the question that led to the concept that is the driving force behind this book, “Okay, guys, who was your favorite teacher you ever had?” Real names and real stories with real feelings entertained us for the next hour. We laughed and cried while we remembered our favorite teachers of all time.
Then, as we all knew it would, came the next question. “If they were the best, then who was the worst teacher you ever had?” Real names and real stories with real feelings brought back feelings of angst for the next hour or so. Most of the stories dealt with hurt feelings and with teachers who didn’t seem to care. Maybe those teachers really did care, but they had not figured out how to show it to kids. This part of the evening bothered me because I don’t like it when people talk bad about others. It also bothered me because I knew some of those teachers on a personal level because my dad was the high school principal, and later an Associate Superintendent, and my mom was the junior high principal. But the effects were the same – what you do to kids (no matter their age) stays with them for a lifetime.
The following day, as my husband and I were driving home, I told him that the best and worst teacher stories really bothered me. He figured it was because I didn’t like hearing all the sad stories about the worst teachers. I told him, although I wasn’t too fond of the negative comments, that the part that truly disturbed me was the fact that most teachers were not mentioned at all. Seriously, after an entire school year, nine months, 36 weeks, 180 days, there are teachers who could manage to escape the best and worst lists? What happened in that classroom that none of us brought up your name?
Someone asked me many years ago if I knew how to say the word, “NO.” To be honest, I had never considered saying no to anything anyone asked of me. Over time, I found myself putting off things I needed to do for myself in order to help other people’s goals come true. This began to wear me down. I soon realized how important it was to say, “No.” “No,” doesn’t mean that you do not want to lend a hand to others. It simply means that you need to stay healthy and alert for all of the things that you have already said, “Yes,” to along the way.
Many people think about filling up their cups, but does anyone ever consider that the pitcher needs to be refilled, too? In our lives, we are most often the pitcher. Since we are teachers, we tend to help everyone around us and try to be everything to everyone. What a wonderful way to design a teacher! However, this blog series is about filling up the pitcher – you!
Take a long, hot bath and sing at the top of your lungs, because sweet friend, you have a lot a preparing ahead of you! Forgive any students who you have been denying forgiveness to because of how they have been acting or how they have been slacking in their assignments. Get your mind completely clear and free of any debris that could be a distraction.
Close your eyes. Envision the best teacher you have ever had. Make a promise to your students that you will be at your best for them. Visualize a worksheet that you plan for your students to complete. Imagine the chart, or the words, or the concepts literally jumping off of the page. Watch out, because they may jump pretty quickly! The more you Teach BIG, the quicker two dimensional activities hop off the age and become three dimensional activities.