As a new teacher, the first year is somewhat of a mystery. I plan my lessons, and work hard to implement them, but the flow of the year, and how I personally feel everyday in the classroom can be hard to predict.
Right now, as CRCT season approaches, and my students have serious spring fever, I am beginning to feel a little drained. Some of it is from worry, and not knowing if I will prepare my students adequately for the CRCT, and some of it is from the daily routine of getting up early, seeing my kids off to school, chores at home, and the list goes on. Ok. Ok. Enough whining! This weeks reflection brings to light my most important goal as a classroom teacher: Always Bring My Best Self to the Classroom.
First, as a teacher I never want my personal feelings to enter the classroom. My students should never see me have a bad day. My goal is to greet them every morning with a smile on my face, while also projecting security and calm. I want my students to feel safe knowing that I am here to support them. We all have problems, my students included. They stroll in with frowns on their faces, moaning about wanting to go back to bed. Some days, I want to say, "Well, yeah, join the club!" But, instead, I say, "Boys and girls, today is a beautiful day, and I am so happy to see each and everyone of you. I know that you are going to do great things today. So, let's sit up straight and tall, put a smile on our faces, and set our sights high. Who's with me this morning?"
That usually does the trick. A few students still look at me with smirks, but I know deep down they are happy, and ready to begin their day.
Secondly, to ensure that I always bring my best self everyday, I look to other educators for inspiration. A few months ago, my principal afforded me the opportunity to visit the Ron Clark Academy. I enjoyed every moment of it, and Mr. Clark is truly an educator that inspires me. What stands out to me the most about him is his enthusiasm for classroom teaching. He states in his book, The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire and Educate Children, "Children are impressionable, and when they look to adults for guidance, we must inspire, and motivate them to want to learn, to have a desire to achieve, and to want to be the best person they can be." He has kept his motivation and enthusiasm for teaching going year after year. That is awesome, and motivates me to be my best, too.
Finally, movies can also be inspiring. I had the opportunity to watch the movie, October Sky, recently. What a wonderful film for motivating teachers! Miss Riley, a young teacher in a poor coal mining town, motivated a young student to dream big, and not give up. She found books for him to read about Science, and gave him the inspiration he needed to achieve his dreams.
Check out this clip below from the movie, October Sky!
So, as I finish my year, this reflection stands as a testimony, that I will continue to bring my best self everyday. I will finish strong!