A Prayer for Teachers

It’s that time of year again. In Texas at least, teachers are reporting back to duty this week. Good-bye slow mornings with no alarms. Good-bye afternoon movie dates and post-lunch naps! (I’ve always been told to sleep when the baby sleeps, and even though my youngest is nearly three, I still live by that creed. Mama takes her sleep SER.I.OUS.LY.) Good-bye mid-week grocery shopping. Good-bye late nights with one more cartoon and a few more snuggles. Good-bye to my crush, Jimmy Fallon. We’ve had a hilarious summer and I’m pleased to see your finger is healing nicely, but now reality calls. Until next year…

From one educator to another, I want to say to you, Dear Teacher, that I pray for you this week. Leaving the luxuries of summer behind is a yearly adjustment for all of us. In just a couple of weeks, you’ll face a roomful of new faces and try without success to remember what it was like to wake up after the sun instead of before it. As you look into your students’ eyes for the first time in a week or so, I want you to remember that you were lifted up in prayer and readied for this moment.

Dear Teacher, those kiddos (even the big ole’ seventeen- and eighteen-year-old ones) need you this year. They need to hear repeatedly that they are worth your time, that they are capable of big things, and that hard work will eventually pay off. They need you to speak these truths to them so many times that your voice becomes their inner voice. When they tell themselves, “Yes, this is hard! But difficult does not equal impossible,” they hear you. They’ll give it a try… for you. Because they think you believe they can.

Teach, they’re watching you this year. Don’t forget that they’re learning important life skills, the ones that have nothing to do with Reading or World History. They see how you treat other staff members and how you deal with conflict yourself. They see how you face the day with work to be done while your personal life crumbles to pieces and brings you to the brink of emotional instability. They’re learning from you, every moment, just by being near you. How should I politely tell this person they made me mad? What do I do when I’m afraid to go home after school? How do I admit I need help? Be intentional with your integrity and your character this year, Teacher. Your students need you beyond your subject area.

Dear Teacher, I pray that you will be what your students need you to be this year. Maybe some of those boys need a patient teacher, one who can always greet them with a hug and a smile… even in April or May. Maybe a few of those girls need a listening ear or a kind word to speak louder than the belittling ones they hear outside your room. Maybe your students just need you to remember that they’re still kids. And inevitably, kids are bound to act like kids. It’s not always convenient when data demands need to be met. But we’re not raising a generation of numbers, are we?

Teacher, I pray you’ll enjoy your last moments with your family or friends before the year steals your time. I pray you will be fortified and ready for the students God will bring through your door this year. I pray you will have the support you need and the confidence you deserve to have an unforgettable year.

And because I know my prayers will never fall on deaf ears, I pray for the REALLY important things too: I pray there won’t be a line at the copier when you’re in a hurry. I pray it won’t jam when the line is seven people deep behind you. I pray you receive Starbucks gift cards at Christmas instead of another candle. I pray your name is accidentally left off the committees list. I pray your duty is minimal, and your raise is significant. I pray for extra hours in the day when you need to grade research papers. I pray for the rest of your assessments to be online multiple-choice quizzes. I pray for patience when you need it, rest when you’re weary, more laughter to share with your  students.

Here’s to another stellar year, Dear Teacher!

Just in case I’m not the only one who struggles with leaving my family to tend to my job

Y’all, summer is officially over!

And I wasn’t ready to say good-bye!

We teachers are going back to work, busily preparing to meet all of our new favorite students, and wrapping up our last family hoorahs until next summer.

Every year, I have a really (and I mean REALLY) hard time saying goodbye to my time with my family. As much as I love teaching, my first profession of choice would be stay-at-home mom. I don’t know why I’m surprised every year when this time rolls around, and I panic inside at the thought of giving up this SAHM stint for another school year. So what if the thought of reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar one more time to my toddler leads to a strong bout of nausea? So what if my older boys’ incessant bickering make me censor a stream of expletives creeping to the tip of my tongue? So what if after two months of summer practice, my husband still doesn’t understand that his role during dinner-making hour is to entertain the kids and keep them out of the blessed kitchen? These are my people. And I love to take care of them! True to my nature, I’m presently in the woes of leaving behind my favorite profession and switching roles to the one that pays the bills. Luckily, I enjoy my teaching career and want to be successful at it, but still…

This week, I’ve allowed my grief to become bigger than it should. As a result, I felt more stressed out and less excited than I should be.

Prayerfully, my attitude is starting to look up. I’ve been blessed this school year already, and I want to keep my focus on the Big Picture. I’m re-posting part of one of my previous blogs, mostly because I need time to study it again… Life is 10% what happens to us, 90% how we react to it. I don’t need to let things boil to the point they have this week because the God I serve defies human timelines. He does not freak out and overreact in different situations. He is constant. He cares about me. And it will all be OKAY.

===========================================================================================================

[from The 90/10 Rule]

They say life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

You know what I love about scripture? It’s that when I become aware of my shortcomings, I can always find someone in the Bible who’s already been there, done that. The precedent has already been set. Thank goodness for me, my only personal downfalls that appear in print are the ones I’ve chosen to post myself! Ever read parts of the Bible and thought, “Oh man! How embarrassing!” At the least, my blunders aren’t in print for, like, eternity in, like, the best-selling book of all time.

Think about Jesus’ good friends Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus. Jesus learns that his buddy Lazarus is seriously ill, and his reaction to his friend’s imminent death is one that has been studied by scholars and theologians ever since. Instead of rushing to Lazarus’ side in Bethany to heal him with divine authority (which he can totally do!), Jesus hangs out where he is for two more days before beginning the journey (which is totally unpredictable! No way Mary and Martha see that one coming).

*** This story is found in John 11, and on a side note this is one of my favorite chapters of all scripture. It’s basically oozing with divine sarcasm. It’s hilarious!***

Naturally, when he finally arrives, Jesus is greeted by the two frustrated sisters who expected him to come quickly and save their brother before he kicked the can. “Lord,” Martha says. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). To which Jesus firmly reminds her (I like to picture him rolling his eyes): “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11: 40).

And though Lazarus has been dead in the tomb for four days, Jesus calls to him to come out. And out walks a living, breathing Lazarus, still wrapped in his grave cloths.

When Mary and Martha sent for Jesus, they were stuck focusing on the situation directly in front of them. Their brother was dying! They could easily justify the urgency to reach Jesus. Nonetheless, they made the mistake of acting situationally. Mary’s and Martha’s actions were driven by their response to what was happening in that one moment. They didn’t yet understand the big picture the Lord was trying to teach them, that in Christ death does not ultimately consume us. As Rick Warren wrote, “Jesus waited until the situation was humanly impossible and then He brought the miracle.”

I don’t want to forget that God sees the Big Picture. Time isn’t really a thing with God. My dear mother-in-law has reminded me on occasion that He doesn’t follow a linear timeline. He is the God who Is, and Was, and Is To Come.  He’s in the past, holding up our present, and controlling the future all at once. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

Thank goodness God isn’t situational! He is constant and consistent. He never just sees us where we are. He sees how He made us and where we’re headed. We don’t have to be caught up in our present, creating unnecessary stress for ourselves. No matter how busy or jumbled or messed up we feel like we’ve made things, our God still sees the Big Picture for us.

===========================================================================================================

School is starting soon. I’m going to miss my time with my “babies.” But God knows what He’s doing. He’s brought me to this place, to this profession, with these students and colleagues, with purpose in mind. I’m going to choose to trust His Big Picture. He’ll tend to my heart, leaving me to tend to His work in such a time as this.

32nd & P

school pic

I look across my desk at the students in my classroom, at the tops of their heads really, their faces lowered as if in reverence. They pore over their standardized test. Maybe some of them should take a moment of reverent prayer; they’re taking a re-test after all. This is their second attempt at passing the Reading test, and at this point, I say we leave no stone unturned.

Since all we teachers can do during these tests is actively monitor (gone are the good ole days of knocking out a set of research papers and finalizing grades), I’ve been busy keeping myself busy. My students would be horrified to know I’ve spent the last five minutes figuring out which animal each of them most closely resembles.

You’ll be glad to know that representing my room today are a baboon, a koala bear (his nose though!), a mouse, a cheetah (cute kid, lots of freckles), and a raccoon (it’s safe to say, he didn’t win that fight last week).

All in a day’s work at this campus on the corner of 32nd and Avenue P.

We’ve worked really hard this year to get to this point. The kids don’t need to know I’m totally freaking out inside—USE YOUR STRATEGIES! READ THE PAIRED PASSAGES FIRST! OPEN THE DADGUM DICTIONARY RESTING RIGHT BESIDE YOU OR I MAY BE TEMPTED TO BEAT YOU WITH IT AFTER THE TEST! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL MANKIND, DON’T YOU DARE PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN ON YOUR DESK AND CLOSE YOUR EYES!—but I’m totally freaking out inside. Because a ton of them are SO CLOSE to passing. Some of them are THIS CLOSE to being successful.

And that’s the thing. The students on our campus are finally starting to come around to the idea that education is valuable, and what’s more, some of them are starting to believe that they can be good at it. The adults here are hard at work affecting a positive change. We are undergoing a cultural shift here at 32nd and P.  And you should take notice. We know that if our families and our immediate neighborhoods will begin to show that they value what’s happening at school, then we’ll be successful in teaching our kids.

We’re not there yet—dear goodness! How many times this year have I joked with my partner teacher to get my bail bond money ready after particularly grueling days? I’ve spent many days this year feeling frustrated or discouraged. But this campus is SO CLOSE to reaching the point where we can turn the corner.

Our teachers are in the trenches every day, working their hearts out to affect change. Lessons are innovative and engaging; a literacy movement is pushed and supported by every discipline on campus—even in classes like P.E. and Orchestra. Our teachers are “best practicing” LIKE A BOSS.

Now, the downside is: the numbers will betray us. The numbers don’t know how far we’ve come and where we’re headed. There is a vision though, and eventually it will be fulfilled.

But that takes time. And the TEA and numbers are incredulously impatient. But our campus will forge on, wisely recognizing the progress being made and the time needed to bring change to fruition.

So, what are the keys our little campus on 32nd and P will need in order to turn the corner?

1. Keep HOPE strong. Scripture says “never grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). I’m guilty of losing that vision myself. Many days may make you want to lose your mind and take up heavy drinking, but hang in there. Keep an eye on the Big Picture. Change the “neighborhood”; change the school.

2. Be positive.

Attitudes are contagious. Positivity yields positivity. Negativity yields negativity.

3. Continue to teach that school is different from home/the streets.

Let’s convey the idea that education is important; knowing the answers is cool. And both teachers and students alike will be professionals.

And our kids can be successful.

They’re not there yet, but eventually they will be.

Keep an eye out for this school in the next 5 to 10 years. With the right leadership and a sustained vision, you’re going to wonder what those people are doing down there at 32nd and P. You’ll be learning from them.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: My Life as a Teacher, Summarized in fb Posts

As my time as an 8th grade Reading teacher on my current campus comes to a close, I find myself spending more and more time reflecting on the last four years. As our principal often quips, “It takes a special person to work at 32nd and P. This job isn’t just a job; it has to be a calling.” I perused my facebook history to see how my mindset and approach to teaching has changed over the last several years.

My experience as a public school teacher for the last four years, summarized by facebook posts:

 

15. “What a great time to be a Knight…here we go!! Have a great day!! We’re ALL IN!!”
–rose colored classes that is the usual attire for the beginning of every school year

 

14. “O.L. kids working hard the day before a holiday break. Makes this teacher-mama proud!”
students

— The “hey, I just might change the world!” optimism of the first holiday break

 

13. Student quote of the day: “oh, him? That’s just my cousin. On both sides. He be from my mom and dad’s family.”
I’m 99% sure she wasn’t kidding.
Happy Friday, family!

— She wasn’t.

 

12. “Taking Camden on a walk. Passed a pencil lying in the grass. Why is my first instinct to pick it up?” #teacherlife

 

11. 7. That’s how many of my 8th grade students were sent to the office today while I was home with a sick baby. Pray for their little souls tonight, because tomorrow is judgment day. “I’m comin’. And hell’s comin’ with me.”

— Affirmation for a job well done is making a 14-year-old boy tear up with remorse.

 

10. “Hey teachers….It’s a new day, new lesson….we got this!!! Have a great day!”

— The beauty of teaching is that there’s a fresh start every day.

 

9. “Forget jeans day on Friday– what I really get excited about is Tennis Shoe Friday!”

— My feet on Monday= Iron Man. My feet by Friday= a cranky toddler.

 

8. I love it when students urgently care about their grades the last week of the semester.
–Said No Teacher Ever

— Explains the onslaught of students begging for tutoring the last week of every grading period and semester

 

7. “Oh good gravy! I dropped this twice this week already, both times referring to my 8th grade students.” -with Allison, my (bail bond) buddy
jail time

 

6. {December 12, 2012. Trying to make sense of the Newton, CT tragedy} “Ran home for a sec during my conference period and my house is a wreck, littered with evidence of a rushed morning with my boys. But how dare I take one second or one mess for granted. At least mine are coming home tonight. As a parent, I can’t even comprehend. As an educator I’m enraged at the awesome responsibility we’ve come to obtain.”

 

5. “Today, school is optional on our campus. It’s a student holiday, but with STAAR tests the next couple of days, many students have chosen to come anyway to attend our STAAR Camp. My heart is SO HAPPY with the hard work that I’m seeing. I needed that– to see even some “hard” kids, wanting to learn. Good luck with testing this week & Go Knights!”

— Ahh, there it is. The reason I became a teacher in the first place.

 

4.

standardized test

 

3.

dos equis

 

2. “Today is National Nut Day, which should obviously be a national holiday for middle school teachers! These kids are NUTS!!!”

 

1. The most profound statement I’ve heard in a looooong while, and written by one of my 8th graders nonetheless: “Don’t let the weight on your shoulders keep you from getting up. Let the weight make your legs stronger so you can never get knocked down.” Awesome insight from a kid without parents, who’s covered in tattoos and shows the kind of maturity that comes from being forced to grow up too fast!

— … And the reason I am still teaching today.

 

And one story to grow on:

A few years back, one eighth grade boy was clearly having a bad day. A co-worker of mine pulled him aside and talked to him privately, hoping he would open up about what was so obviously bothering him. “Miss [the generic term for all female teachers, apparently in the entire universe], my girlfriend said she’s pregnant.” I’m sure a look of concern passed over my caring colleague’s face as she tried to figure out what to say next… but he spoke up before she could respond. “But she can’t be. I took one of those pregnancy tests– I peed on that little stick and it said ‘negative.'”
Oh, well, good. In that case, crisis averted.
You can’t make this stuff up.

The Sin of Being a Teacher

Colorful-Crayon-FrameThe field of education is full of hypocrisy. Teachers are the worst of the hypocrites. I should know. I’ve been teaching for over a decade.

Lies I’ve heard over the years and what I’ve learned as a result:

Lie #1: Those who can, do.  Those who can’t, teach.
I teach in a middle school, and a co-worker of mine posted this on her fb page regarding a particularly draining day:

Teaching today is like trying to get a cat to stand on one leg. While on a roller coaster. While it’s raining. And there are other cats around.”

Teaching is like leading an orchestra. Our job is to corral 30 different personalities into one harmonious sound. People outside the field of education just won’t understand the sinew and determination and patience that is involved in creating a melodious classroom where learning is evident, students are constantly engaged, and positive relationships are maintained.

Is every student capable of learning? Sure. Will they? Not in a million years. The biggest obstacles I see in my own classroom are an extreme epidemic of apathy toward education and a steadily increasing disrespect shown toward teachers, by both students and parents.

So, why do teachers stay in a profession that is overwhelmingly challenging and offers little more than intrinsic value? We stay in it for the summers, of course! Hold it.. just kidding. That’s just what everyone outside of education expects us to say. Ha! Sadly, more and more educators are turning away from their first love in search of something with less stress, or less personal time stolen outside the regular work day, or something that offers fair monetary compensation. But the truth is, most of us still enjoy it. We live for the moment when the light bulb flashes on for some students; we love the opportunity to be the day-time parent to some really great kids for a year. I just hope that the intrinsic values are enough to keep quality teachers in our schools.

Lie #2: We don’t “teach to the test.”
One word.

Liar.

Teachers are crushingly fearful of numbers. Good grief, our job security is directly tied to how well we can get our students to perform on standardized or district-driven tests. Or in many cases, both. In my world, we’re talking 13- and 14-year-olds. It’s a VERY. GOOD. THING they don’t know how much power they hold in their little hormone-driven hands. We work hard to motivate them, entertain them long enough to hold their attention, and gently challenge them without pushing them far enough that they give up. But if an educator tells you that she is strictly focused on creating life-long learners and that she thinks teaching to the test is a disgrace to the profession, then you call her on it. Tell her you’re throwin’ the flag. Either she’s of the unique population protected by the union or she’s a first year teacher. Either way, it’s not reality.

Lie #3: We’re offended at all the jokes about having summer and holidays off.
We pretend to be. But really, we love our time off. We have families and hobbies and a thousand other things that we deliberately ignore to great lengths during the school year because we’re so focused on loving our students and getting them to score highly on tests. We spend our summers and holidays making up for all that lost time, hugging our own little ones a little longer, finishing that book we started back in October, and getting down to the serious business of all the episodes of Downton Abbey we missed. We feel sorry for the professionals. SUCKAS!

Elementary sho’ aint easy!

beer and school

I miss the good ole’ days.

Half-day kindergarten. “Pirate Special” served in the cafeteria on Fridays. (Ooh-wee the best part of that steak finger plate was the buttery roll!) The legendary book fair. The annual Halloween carnival. Your favorite teacher was all of your elementary teachers who hugged kids instead of standing in the hall with crossed arms and a scowl.

I’m almost 34, but just like you, I easily remember my first teachers. Ms. Shipp in kindergarten who wore a short, black bob; Mrs. Lawson in first grade, who still attends my parents’ church and still makes a point to speak to me when I visit, Mrs. Benton in second grade who gave me licks, which was apparently a first for both of us (another story for another day, albeit a funny one.)

Those days seemed easy and slow.

Nothing like the impression elementary school leaves me with now.

And I don’t like it.

I trudged to Open House with my second grader tonight. Thankfully the teachers seemed to have adopted the frozen smile by the time I finally got close enough to shake their hands because the block we walked to get to the school’s entrance in this Texas evening heat already had me dabbing my upper lip, the whole while I’m saying silent prayers that my mascara wouldn’t arrive before I did. And I won’t even go into detail about all the other places that were dripping by the time we walked the gauntlet called Everyone-in-the-entire-district-is-in-this-hallway-at-this-exact-moment. “Brennan?  … Brennan? … BRENNAN? Do I have mascara on my cheeks?”

“Scared? You’re scared?”

“No, ma.scar.a.”

“What’s your scara?”

“Oh. Nevermind then!”

Brennan proudly led the way into his “Homeroom” Teacher’s room. I’m air-quoting that phrase, Homeroom Teacher. More on that in a minute.

We exchanged the usual pleasantries; Brennan went through the usual routine of finding his desk, locker, etc. I signed the usual papers, accepted the usual parent letters that I promised I’d look over when we got home. No big deal.

Until I got home and looked over the parent letters.

Big deal.

Included was Brennan’s schedule. Sure, it was printed on colored paper with a big, fun looking font something akin to RAVIE. But I’ve taught both middle school and high school and my second grader’s paper was nothing shy of a child-friendly version of a Schedule, like the ones teenagers use.

His classes weren’t labeled as 1st period, 2nd period, and so forth. But every 42 minutes, his class is apparently going to rotate to a different teacher. In the course of a typical day (admittedly including PE), he will spend time in 7 different rooms. FAMILY, hear me on this. Ole’ boy will have SEVEN teachers in ONE day. Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Writing and Spelling, PE, and an elective (music, or art, or computer lab, or library day). If they’re trying to use the time-out method– one minute for every year– one teacher for every year– I think they missed the boat.

He just turned seven this week.

He’s only been tying his shoes one summer.

And to be honest, he still sucks at it.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit much?

Have you met my child?

Maybe he’s not really ADD; maybe he’s just having a harder time molding to seven different personalities in a day and trying to please all of them.

Which brings me back to the air-quoted Homeroom Teacher. Really, his HT is his first period Reading teacher. He spends no more time with her in his day than he does with any other teacher and he doesn’t even end his day in her room. Seems like that’s a loose-fitting crown to claim.

All summer long I’ve been praying for Brennan’s HT. I’ve pleaded for someone who will care about him first, understand him second, and be able to guide us as parents down this second grade path last. I’ve prayed that his teacher was enjoying her summer and refilling her love tank with her own family. As teachers began reporting back to campuses in the last few weeks, I’ve prayed that our teacher was growing excited about the kids coming into her room and that she was genuinely looking forward to teaching a roomful of new faces and that she was feeling more and more prepared to do so. I even prayed over her today, knowing these are the last few days teachers will cram to get everything perfect and ready to hit the ground running on Monday morning when school starts.

I had a slight moment of panic when I realized all this time I kind of was praying for the wrong thing. Essentially, I was praying for a Ms. Shipp or Mrs. Lawson or Mrs. Benton experience for my son. I so want him to bond with a teacher he loves.

Can he do that with 7 teachers?

I remember my second grade teacher. When he’s my age, will Brennan be able to remember his?

The Dirty Truth About Teachers

The Dirty Truth About Teachers

It takes a village…

As a parent, I’m understanding this more and more. My husband and I are not the only adult influences on our children’s lives. We’re thankful for that.

Isn’t our mission from the moment our kids take their first breath to prepare them for and move them toward independence? How excited are we when the little one first catches our attention with a well- timed “Da da!” (All three of my boys said this as their first word. Traitors! All of you!) First words are cute, but the ultimate goal is communication and forming opinions and sharing them, right? How many posts on Facebook are of those first steps? How many pictures of the first days of school or kindergarten, middle school, high school, even college graduations?

Brad and I relish every milestone we get to experience with our boys, but we raise our kids with the end in mind- we prayerfully expect contributing members of society who personally love the Lord.

But we’d be foolish to assume that we can accomplish that on our own. I recently read a book called Parenting Beyond Your Capacity (Joiner & Nieuwhof). Nevermind the fact that there is a pretty funny misprint for Chapter 4, and by that I mean that all but the last couple pages of that chapter weren’t actually printed- in my copy anyway. Naturally, this was the chapter I attempted to read first. I think that was a sign. I’m just not sure of what yet.

The concept of the book is summed up in its subtitle: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community. Simply put, the authors stress the importance of using the village concept in raising your children. They explain how to use the church to help raise your kids- not just as something you attend once a week to leave feeling uplifted but as an active, fluid, meaningful fraction of your child’s life.

I’m a teacher. My mother’s a teacher. I’ve been immersed in education my whole life. It’s a second language to me. So I don’t expect everyone to understand the nuances as I do, but I wonder… how would these authors relate the role of the teacher in molding their children? Would they even consider it as a part of the equation? They explicitly convey the idea that they are speaking of spiritual matters and most parents wouldn’t trust their children’s educators with that responsibility, wanting a more direct impression on such a fragile topic.

But I’ve got to be frank here. Teachers are influencing the children in their classrooms whether they are intentional in doing so or not. I’ve heard people quip that teaching is not just a job; it’s a calling. Having been in the profession for ten years myself, I earnestly believe that statement is true.

Let me tell you why.

Teachers spend more time with their students, thinking about their students, preparing for their students than they often do with their own family. Teachers get to know students intimately (yes, even the year I had 179 of them!) simply because of the amount of time spent together. We learn their likes and dislikes, moods, academic needs, social needs, yes even spiritual needs. A whole plethora of things the general public would be shocked to know that we learn about the kids filling our seats each day.

We can tell by the way your student walks through the doorway of our classroom in the morning if there was enough food in the house last night to feed him dinner.

We can tell by the way your student leaves our classroom at lunchtime if she’s worried about finding a table to sit at in the cafeteria with people who will accept her.

We can tell by your student’s mood changes that it’s his weekend to stay with the other parent.

We notice your young elementary student is feeling sick because she’s less enthusiastic than usual about going to P.E. She’s shy. She won’t tell us she doesn’t feel well. She needs us to ask her.

We can tell by your student’s facial expressions when she practices reading that an undiagnosed learning disability is causing her stress and demands further investigation.

We can tell by your older student’s silence that his girlfriend broke up with him this morning. And while there are important learning opportunities we refuse to let pass by today, we know we’ll need to approach them creatively with him.

We can tell who is sleepy today because they were unsupervised last night.

We can tell there are some students who need us just as much, but we won’t worry about them like the others. They never seem overtired, but we know their parents stick to a predictable routine and provide lots of structure at home. But they still need us to understand them and “read” them and continue the positive influence that began in the home.

As a teacher I’ve experienced the full gamut Texas has to offer. I’ve taught in an affluent district surrounded by million dollar homes. I’ve also been privileged to teach at a couple of Title 1 schools, where the biggest battle we faced every day was the culture of the neighborhood.

Regardless of the clientele I’ve served, I have realized some truths about education. One, there are genuinely good kids all over the place. Some of them come from privileged families but remain humble and hard working. Some of them rise above their circumstances and are determined to be successful. Two, there are genuinely good teachers all over the place. Some of them come from privileged schools but remain innovative and hard working. Some of them rise above their circumstances and are determined that your student will be successful.

Teachers obviously aren’t in the profession for the money. We’re not looking for recognition either. We teach because we’re passionate about people.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Consider the impression educators make. They have more influence than you think.