Last week, Zack had a hematology appointment in Reno and we went for a sushi lunch afterward. Out of all the sushi restaurants in Reno (there are a lot) and the 4 chefs behind the bar, we were seated in front of the dad of a kindergartener I taught in 2005. He recognized me a split second before I recognized him and was so proud to tell me about how well she’s doing as a … high schooler! Ayaiyai. She and I texted that evening and it brought me so much delight and so many memories. One distinct memory was complaining to my mom about feeling overwhelmed that year. Her answer was that sometimes I just have to focus on that moment, that lesson, the students with me right then.
If you haven’t seen the movie Creed, I won’t reveal any spoilers in telling you that Sylvester Stallone’s character, Rocky Balboa, gives Michael B. Jordan’s character, Adonis Creed, a mantra: 1 step at a time, 1 punch at a time, 1 round at a time. This totally brought back Mom’s reminders and I immediately connected it the Girls on the Run strategy of Stop Breath Listen Respond (which I’ve referenced before). When teachers get overwhelmed, we can take a minute to coach ourselves (we can’t all take a break from the fight and get cleaned up in our corner) to take a breath and refocus on the students in front of us for the round at hand.
My #LeadUpNow friend Bethany Hill posted a picture on fb that helps put this into perspective for me. I became a teacher because I love kids!
And the last push I needed for this blog came from another #LeadUpNow friend, Marlena Gross-Taylor, and her #CelebrateMonday tweet this morning.
I am honored to have been chosen as a #TeachStrong ambassador and got to join my first webinar last week. The goals of the movement are to help elevate the conversation around teacher preparation and retention. This webinar came right after I had the pleasure of hearing fellow America Achieves fellows Terri and John present on the Hope Street Group research project On Deck: Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers. I love the conversation about new teacher preparation because so much of what applies to brand new teachers is equally relevant for experienced educators and teachers like me who have been out of the classroom for a bit.
So many times teachers new and experienced feel overwhelmed and bogged down with paperwork, mandates, testing stress, student behaviors, and engagement struggles. But I think it’s most important to remember that no matter how overwhelmed or frustrated or mad teachers feel, our # 1 job as educators is to take 1 breath, 1 step back, and love the students in front of us. We have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact on the children in our lives and they deserve nothing less than to know that we are irrationally crazy about them.