This week, we will be featuring posts that center around teaching and thankfulness. Some posts are funny, some are touching, and all are inspiring. Boxlight is thankful for all the educators who work hard every day to educate and inspire their students. Happy Thanksgiving!
In this month of thankfulness, my mind turns toward the classroom. Between my husband’s military career and a new baby, I had to step away from the classroom these past two school years. While I feel extremely fortunate to have had this time with my youngest and three other children, I find myself beginning to yearn for the classroom. I walk into my second grader’s school and take a deep breath, reveling in the smell of cleanser, school lunches, and warm copies. Distance, time, and reflection have added a deeper level to my thankful attitude this year, and I have found myself counting my previously underappreciated blessings.
Here’s what I love (and miss!) about teaching:
- Lesson Planning: I know—an unlikely addition to a list of things to be thankful for, but there is nothing quite like the pure satisfaction of a perfectly crafted lesson. All that potential energy bundling up in my limbs in anticipation, ready for the students to boil over from the hall into my room equally excited about the day.
- Test Grading: The absolute bane of my disorganized existence! This drew forth my true procrastinating nature—the urge to “File 13” would grow in my desperation to be rid of my seemingly reproducing stacks. When I would buckle down and examine these artifacts of my students’ minds, I would extract misconceptions, misunderstandings, and then be able to provide opportunities for powerful reteaching moments. I am so thankful for the gift of second chances—the “Aha!” moments that would not have happened otherwise.
- Parents: At the beginning of my career, parents terrified me. The thought of parent-teacher conferences made me pop an antacid and apply and extra layer of antiperspirant. After becoming a parent, I discovered that all of us want the same goals for our children. We want our children to be happy, understood, successful, and to come home safe. My attitude of understanding facilitated positive parent relationships, which paid dividends in student success. I am so thankful for all the parents who allowed me to stumble, grow, and become a better educator because of my relationships with them.
- Meetings: 504, IEP, team, professional development—you name it. They can feel like time-sucking black holes that make me panic in the face of my to-do list. Especially when I realize the bathroom break I thought I would have before the meeting just disappeared into the tiny scraps of paper that I am teasing out of the hopelessly jammed copier! As I reflect on those meetings and the good they did for student success—ensuring a positive parent connection, team cohesion, and bonding—I am deeply thankful for them. Without these regular interactions, so many of the tiny intricate parts of my job could have easily fallen though the cracks.
I am most thankful to have this time to reflect and rejuvenate. I easily lose myself in the swirling chaos that can be a teacher’s life—insanely long hours, emotional days, and grappling with new edicts handed down from the top. It all takes its toll and it’s easy to find myself tired, worn thin, and possibly even jaded. But time is a healer of many things. I am enjoying this gift of time, as it is allowing my fingers to itch again for my anchor chart markers and dry erase pens!
What are you most thankful for this year? Let us know in the comments below. And for more teaching inspiration all year long, consider joining MimioConnect™, our online educator community!