It feels like school just started. It feels like August 26th was just yesterday. Just yesterday, the students walked in with apprehension and uncertainty. Well, guess what? They weren’t the only ones feeling that way. Oh yeah, we may look like we have it all together, but we walk into school with the same apprehensive feelings as our students, only ours stems from the uncertainty that we still…after many years of education and several more of continuing education…we still are not certain that we are giving enough. We come to school early, we leave late, and then we spend countless hours at home amid our own family working many more hours, only to find ourselves wondering… “Does this even matter? Does anyone even notice? Does anyone even care?”
It’s the time of year we look forward to. A break from the begrudging monotony of day to day tasks that we so desperately work towards finding some sort of tranquility. But, unbeknownst to us, we have worked ourselves straight into what we call “survival” mode. So, while we continue to develop lesson plans and activities with just enough creativity to get us through yet another week, we also reflect on ourselves as educators and on our students as learners, wondering… “Are we doing enough? What should I do differently? What can I do better? Am I really giving my all??”
In the midst of writing Student Learning Objectives, Professional Growth Plans, and preparing ourselves for the new teacher evaluation system… In the midst of writing daily lesson plans (differentiated, of course), developing guided reading groups, and collecting student data from weekly common assessments (for both formative and summative data)… Oh…and…in the midst of attending committee meetings, team leadership meetings, professional development and continuing education courses (you know…for re-certification purposes), grade level meetings (many times on the go), and preparing for parent-teacher conferences… Oh…not to mention the classroom management and behavior issues we deal with on a daily basis! And yet, while we understand that non-educators do not realize all the other buzz words and buzz work that we juggle within the span of a week… even with all that I have listed above, we still manage to criticize our own worth.
It is my opinion that we are the most beat up, devalued, misunderstood profession there is. Even though it is the ONE profession that creates all others. Think about that! Teachers plant seeds of knowledge and facilitate growth and development in every other known profession and are still deemed, unimportant!! Well, I submit to you that you ARE noticed, you DO matter, you ARE important, and you ARE worth everything you put into this profession!
Take a moment during this time of year to reflect on all that you do. I mean, really reflect! It’s A LOT, right? Of course it is!! What you do every single day will influence the life of a child for the rest of their days and that is no small feat by any means! Remember, what we do is not for everyone! Be appreciative for the things you have learned as an educator, for all the people that you have come in contact with (those that have passed through and those that have remained), and especially for every child that has passed through your classroom. In education, many of us have discovered our purpose and with teaching we have nurtured our passion. Be thankful for the responsibility and opportunity to change the lives of children because it is a gift bestowed to only a chosen few.
So, during this time of year, as you reflect and recharge, know that what you do matters. Because just when you think no one notices and no one cares…someone will let you know that it does. That “someone”…will be one of your students. THAT’S why we do what we do. THAT’S what really matters!