Be the change, being a teacher

See the Small

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I forgot yesterday was a Monday.  As I drove home, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around why the day did not seem to have gone as planned.  Why I had just taken away all yoga balls in our classroom.  Why the energy seemed so off, no matter what I did.  And then it dawned on me; it was a Monday, and every Monday I leave thinking that I need to change the way I teach.  That what we are doing is not working.  That surely I should not be writing about the way I teach because if you had been in our classroom, you would have been just a little bit surprised, after all, aren’t we supposed to have it all figured out by now?

This morning as I got ready for another day, a child walked in and declared, “Monday’s turn me into Garfield…” and I remembered once again, that sometimes Monday’s are hard.  Sometimes the final class of the day is loud.  Sometimes the kid we thought we had helped feel comfortable still does hurtful things.  Sometimes I am more tired then I thought I was.  Sometimes things happen outside of our classroom that influences our classroom in ways we couldn’t foresee, and while all of these may seem like excuses o why the day didn’t go as planned, they are not.  They are reminders.

Reminders that we are human.  Reminders that teaching is never perfect.  Reminders that sometimes despite what we plan, despite what we intend, despite what we think a day will be like, it just isn’t.

And they are reminders to see the small wins, the small successes that will ultimately shape this year together.  Like the kid who agreed to give an audiobook a try despite how much they hate reading.  Or the kid who asked for help and never has before.  The kid who started yelling but then realized what he did and apologized.  The kid who couldn’t wait to tell me about the book they finished.  The kid who took the time to tell me that no matter what I always seem to be smiling.  That no matter what, the 7th grade teachers are all pretty nice.

Those are the reminders we all need but seem to forget as we focus on the things that seem to not work.   So I wonder; have you given yourself a moment to realize how much good there has happened?  How far we have actually come?

Because if you look you will see the growth.  You will see those small changes as these kids figure out how to be more than what they came as.  You will see them try.  You will see them stretch themselves, even if it doesn’t seem apparent on the surface.  But you won’t if you don’t look closely, it is so easy to miss in all of the things that have not yet been figured out.

So if you had been in our classroom yesterday, you may have thought it was a rougher day, and yet, I would have told you; it’s just Monday.  Tomorrow will be better because that’s just how it goes.  And you know what, today was a pretty good day, just like yesterday.  How about yours?

If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child.  This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block.  If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first 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.



6 thoughts on “See the Small”

  1. I love this! Today was our “Monday” and boy did I feel the same way as you. It’s so good to look at all the good that we have done. Thank you for reminding me!

  2. Exactly! We have Mondays, too, but then, the next day is a new day. At the end of each day I need to just remind myself….they are just 10 year olds. They behave like 10 year olds. I need to make sure that I do not take it personally.

  3. Thank you for these posts. My experience (going into my 32nd year) has mostly been with primary students, working at the beginning of their reading lives, foundational skills and building a love for reading. This year I have a class of 9th graders, in our alternative school. A group of 11 kids that have had many years of perfecting the, “I hate reading and it’s boring…etc…” Your posts help me immensely. I am constantly walking out of there thinking about what I could do differently to make it better for them.

  4. Needed that reminder today. We were off yesterday, so today was my Monday. It was a rainy day and 2 of my classes were just off. It was a struggle to keep their attention. It’s not this way everyday, and here’s to tomorrow!

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