For as long as I've been able to put my thoughts down on paper I've used writing as a way to be creative, to decompress, or express my opinions.
Not only have I not written for my blog, I haven't so much as clicked on the link to get me here to read it. I was not feeling inspired and honestly I've just been too busy. My plan was to end the school year last year and spend my summer writing, catching up, and uploading the many pictures of lessons and kindergarten accomplishments from the past year. It never happened.
When summer rolled around I was just too spent to think about it. Being a teacher is difficult, the best job in the world, but it is not easy and after a long year, I just needed to chill. Read a book just for pleasure, dig my toes in the sand, ride my bike, spend some time just doing nothing and not thinking about anything school related. Now if you are a teacher or know one, you pretty much know it's next to impossible not to think about school...it's just who we are. Always planning, always learning, always trying to find a better way to inspire children.
The summer as usually flew by and there I was mid-August facing another school year. I'm usually more than ready by then to get started, to be on some kind of schedule and routine. I love meeting the new bunch of kids, getting to know them and their parents, so full of promise and excitement for the year ahead. I love seeing my teacher friends who I haven't seen in more than two months, they have become like family and by the end of the summer I've missed them.
I have 21 little cherubs this year, a larger class than I've ever had. They are all unique, have a wide range of abilities and struggles and I love them all. They are cute,smart and very funny.
They are why I do what I do.
I have to remind myself daily of that..."They are why I do what I do."
Being a teacher has become increasingly more difficult. There are more and more pressures being put on us daily. Meetings, lesson plans, action plans, meetings, assessments, self evaluations, goal setting, observations, meetings, behavior plans, and did I mention meetings? All in the name of raising achievement. We are a dedicated bunch...towing the line, doing what is asked of us even when we don't think we can do it anymore. It's not like we don't want to work hard, we DO work hard and we aren't afraid to put all our effort into it and work smarter and harder and longer.
They are why we do what we do.
We know what's good for kids, we are kid experts, developmentally and fundamentally. We know that we can raise achievement by teaching kids that learning is fun, by creating a classroom environment and lessons that make kids want to come to school and be inspired. By letting kids know that they are capable of anything they set their little minds to and giving them the tools they need to show them how to accomplish that. We know that by giving them the tools they need to explore, discover, think and ask questions they will learn.
We aren't going to raise achievement by asking kids to learn something they aren't developmentally ready to, we aren't going to raise achievement by testing kids and we aren't going to raise achievement by stressing out teachers or worse children.
I do my best each and everyday to make my classroom one where kids are not only learning, but discovering their abilities, not just reading, writing, math and science but music and art, empathy, respectfulness and creativity...those things that can't be measured with a test. I'm not going to apologize or stop taking out the play-do, the paint, and the music. Years from now they aren't going to remember who taught them how to read, but they are going to remember chasing the Gingerbread Man down the hallway, the Halloween parade and the Thanksgiving feast, the leprechaun footprints that magically appear in the hallway year after year, the field trips and the fun. Those are the things that make children want to come to school and learn, those are the things I'll continue to do in my classroom because it's about the kids.
They are why I do what I do.