being a teacher, first day, first week, Student dreams

No Matter

What matters most will always be how they feel when they are with us.

Am I good enough?  Will I be enough?  Will this be a great year?  These thoughts have haunted me this summer.  Perhaps it is because I will start my third year as a teacher of seventh graders.  Perhaps it is because I have eight and a half years under my belt and I have seen what great teaching can look like.  This summer as I have traveled across the country working with fellow educators, I have seen what great teaching can be.

I have spent hours at home reading, learning, listening.  Taking notes and finding ideas.  I have run through scenarios, plotted possible courses.  This week I have spent many hours in our classroom, moving furniture, fixing borders, shelving books, and dreaming.  Dreaming of this year.  Dreaming of what we can accomplish.  Dreaming of the type of teacher I used to be, of the one I want to be.

So no matter how panicked I feel…

No matter the fears…

No matter the dreams, the ideas, the hopes and the wishes…

No matter the furniture, the planning, or even the bulletin boards…

What matters will never be found before school starts.

What matters will never be dreamt in my head.  Concocted with colleagues or pinned for in a book.

What matters will never just be those ideas we came up with, that new thing we are going to try, or even the lessons we spent the most time on.

What matters will always be the kids.

And until they show up all we can do is dream.  Is hope.  Is wish.  Is rest so that when they do arrive we know that all of that sleep lost and all of that time spent planning was worth it.

My friend, Jed Dearbury, says “Love first, teach second,” and he is so right.  Because at the end of the day what matters most is not how much we got done or even how well prepared we were.  What matters is how they feel when they are in our classroom and how we feel as their teachers.  I am waiting for those kids to show up next week so that I finally can feel like a real teacher again.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.  Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.


3 thoughts on “No Matter”

  1. Always put the child first. Watch for those children who are falling behind. Find out why. Because when I was in elementary School I was very sick and no one believed me. I even got the strap because I missed School the day before (because I was sick) and I could not answer a question which was taught the day I was sick. I went all the way through School being sick with bladder infections and the Doctors had no answers and even they thought I was playing games. It wasn’t till I got home from my honeymoon, they found my problem. I had tree kidneys that were all scared from infections over the years. I suffered all those years and it could have been just one person to believe me. That can be a teacher as she/he spends most of the time with that child. Find out what is wrong. I wasn’t dumb as my Dad said I was. No one can learn anything when you are sick. After I had a kidney transplant (from my sister) I even went to university. I wasn’t dumb……………….

  2. Thank you for this necessary reminder for all of us. We teach people not science or history or English but real, living, breathing, feeling, flesh and blood beings who need us to focus on building what relationships we can in the short time we have with them.
    I’m so glad I found your blog as you inspire me to get my head out of the clouds and back into the nitty gritty of meeting my students face to face and seeing the beautiful persons right in front of me.

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