Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Motivation: School Edition

So I've been a blogging slacker. I'm well aware that my blogging is going to fall off the consistency train. Well aware. But I was hoping to keep two blog features regular - Things I'm Loving Friday and Survey Sunday. But I've clearly fallen short on the Things I'm Loving Friday feature. And I'm going to try and be better about it, but because I really wanted to share these articles and videos with you guys, I'm calling this one Monday Motivation. Because not only is it Monday, but it's the first day of school. And we all need a little extra motivation, wouldn't you agree?

A Letter To My Eighth Graders
As the promise of a new school year creeps up on me, I can't help but take a moment to think about what this new school year will bring. A new crop of freshmen, who are going to act tough, but who will be in need so much (tough) love, understanding, grace, patience, and a little bit of sass. They're walking into a school with 3,800 other students, and that can be overwhelming. Just take a second and think back to your first day of high school. Anyway, I loved this article. Absolutely loved it. Because I hold firm to the belief that our students learn so much more than what is listed on our syllabus. Just as I am going to fail at times as a teacher, my students are going to fail, too. And that's okay! That's a part of life. But they can't be afraid not to try. They have to trust in themselves, and they have to believe in themselves, and they have to internalize the truth that their story matters. And in a world full of high school gossip, drama, and Mean Girls, be kind. Throw it around like confetti. Freshmen, I'm willing to bet that you're scared to death right now. But just own it. And remember that I'm always here to help!

Even if I look like a student myself
Ten Things You Need to Know about Introverted Teachers
I think it shocks people when they learn that I am an introvert, after they learn that I am a teacher. I very much dread any and all forms of public speaking, and it's exhausting for me to be around people, and to be "on" all day. Not that I don't love what I do, but I'd be so much more comfortable with a desk job where I didn't have to interact with people at all hours of the day. Comfortable, not happy. And while some of the items on this list are a little bit extreme - I don't leave when other people walk into the Kopy Kingdom, in fact, I can usually be found chatting up a storm with the two kopy heroes. I don't change my route based on who I might see, because one, who can predict that anyway, and two, if I changed my route, I may never make it to my final destination. That being said, I don't talk just to talk. I talk if I have something important to contribute, icebreakers are my worst nightmare, I tend to err on the side of agreement simply so I can avoid confrontation, and yes, weekends are absolutely for recharging. Going out is really not something I even consider, and it's nothing personal, I'd just rather spend my evening doing something low-key, like trying out a new restaurant. I love being around people, but I also love having some "me" time.

If Teachers Were Treated Like Pro Athletes

Let me start this off by saying that I'm as big a sports fan as the next person. There is not a whole lot that I love more than sitting down and having a full sports lineup ahead of me. And while I think, in the grand scheme of things, that athletes are paid a little bit too much, and are given one too many free passes, I look up to them all the same. But this Key and Peele video is absolutely hilarious. In an alternate reality, teachers would be glorified the way pro athletes are. But then again, would we really want to have every move we make scrutinized and put on display for all to see? I think the bottom line of this video is recognizing the fact that so many teachers put in endless work day in and day out, and that maybe they're not appreciated the way pro athletes are, but that appreciation from even one student goes such a long way. And I'm hoping some of my future pro athletes remember who (hopefully) taught them more than just vocabulary and grammar.

What Students Remember Most About Teachers
And to round out the Things I'm Loving: School Edition, this article hits the nail on the head. I was that young teacher who fretted over how I could possibly get it all done. I guess I still am that young teacher. But last year, I was constantly reminded by older teachers, who could tell that I was absolutely not fine, that it's not the lesson I deliver, nor is it the failed novel discussion I'm stressing over. Rather, my students are going to remember me, and the way I treated them, the way I talked to them, the way I hopefully invested in them. My students absolutely loved hearing personal stories about my life, and I hope they know how much I love hearing theirs, too. It's the same mantra of a YoungLife leader. Just show up. Just be there. I couldn't tell you many of the lessons I was taught in high school, but I will never forget the way so many of my teachers invested in me. So I hope to take this letter with me into this school year. There will be great days, and there will be not-so-great days. But I hope no matter what kind of day it is, I never let it affect how I treat the students who walk through my door.

If I Knew Then: A Letter to Me on My First Day Teaching
My principal showed this video to us on the very first day of inservice. Which was only two weeks ago, but feels like a lifetime ago. And I loved it. Because my mindset going into this second year is so much different than my mindset going into my first year. Actually, I'm not sure that I was scared going into my first year, but I do know that I quickly became overwhelmed. I wondered what on earth I was doing, and I dreaded the drive to school every day. I know there will be days when I become overwhelmed, and I know that "I will fail, I will make mistakes, and I will embarrass myself." But I also know that I have great people to turn to when I need help, and grace and humility are two of my greatest friends. I learn something new every single day, and I also know that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. Bring it on, year two!

And of course I've got my red heels on
I hope your Monday is a great one!

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