“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
– John Lennon
- So what do we (teachers) do with ‘kids like that’…the ones that think outside the box, can’t sit still, question us, and give answers that can’t be scored with a rubric?
- We learn from them.
Summer is ending…I’m heading back to work soon.
I like that (the heading back to work part).
I am fortunate to have discovered a career that doesn’t feel too much like work. My office building is decorated with books, laughter, and the smell of pizza dunkers on Fridays.
I share my ‘office’ with 22 knowledgeable, creative, and very energetic co-workers. They’re only five years old, not yet jaded or cynical; their enthusiasm is contagious.
Don’t get me wrong, teaching is a lot of work;
…always plenty of paperwork and lengthy to-do lists waiting to be tucked into my take home bag.
I took my dad’s advice:
“Discover what you love to do
…and then figure out a way to find someone to pay you to do it.”
I know my dad is not the inventor of that statement, but that’s where I first heard (and believed) it. Still do.
I’m a kindergarten teacher. By the end of the day my mind is a maze of paperwork because, (I continue to convince myself), that all that stuff can wait till the kids go home.
I just have to let it be. Do you know any teacher that doesn’t work overtime?
I spend the school day learning from my students- in perfect balance with teaching my students.
Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about the value of just letting it be; paperwork included, leaving much more time to take advantage of every live moment in our classroom.
By the way, I never liked school as a kid. Sure, I enjoyed the early years, but by the time junior high, (that’s what we used to call it), came around I was faking illness, skipping school and struggling to find a reason tp attend. Most of the time it was simply a new outfit or pizza on the cafeteria menu that encouraged me to show up that day.
I survived those awkward years of 7th and 8th grade and ventured on to what I saw as my last years of compliance. Once I made it out of high school, the very last thing on my agenda was….moRe scHoOl?
A college degree never even crossed my mind….until I had children of my own and realized the great opportunity and responsibility to instill in those children the value of education.
When my daughters started school it brought back many memories of my own elementary years. It suddenly dawned on me that although I didn’t always like school, what I did like were my teachers. I wanted to be a teacher.
Sequence wasn’t a factor, possibility, or even a concern.
There was no going back and doing it all in order; I was going to college. Now.
I soon found myself as a nontraditional student with a (long-term) plan. I won’t take you through the 16 years of night, summer, online and weekend classes that it took me to get there…
But, I made it. I’m here. I never take for granted all that I struggled through to get here. Teaching is an enormous responsibility and an incredible opportunity.
If I leave the paperwork till later…just let that be and do the real work now, in the now, the get on the carpet with ’em kinda teaching… the learning will happen.
I’m learning more about teaching every single day. When I stop learning and growing, that’s when I will stop teaching.
I learn from my learners, they cue me to let the paperwork be till later, and they remind me that not all answers are meant to be judged by a teacher or her rubric.