From Mrs. J., my 5th grade Language Arts/ Social Studies teacher:
How do I get my energy? In my case, the boundless energy of the kids gives me the energy I need. It's the extra things I do with them that also keeps me going—Movie Team, Tech Team, the fun stuff at the end of the day! That way I get to know them on a non-school level, and that makes me understand each situation a little better.
Believe me....there ARE days that I want to say, "Forget this, I'll be a greeter at Meijer’s," but not too many. Plus, if you can find one person you can use as a confidante with your questions, problems, etc., it really helps. My teaching partner is mine. I know that what I say won't go beyond her, and I think she knows the same of me.
From Mrs. M., my 11th grade English/Spanish teacher:
As to what keeps me going each day... (Sometimes I wonder! This morning I am trying to discuss 3 chapters of "Huck" with a class that clearly hasn't read ANY of it!) But most days I spend a good portion of my time laughing and just enjoying the students. I also love the subject matter - great books and speaking Spanish. I also think that it helps me to think of it all as a calling. Teaching has never been a job to me; I've always thought it was what I was supposed to do. (I AM a product of my Presbyterian upbringing!)
From Mrs. D., 12th grade Math:
What keeps me going? I thrive on the few students who let me know how much they've grown. I hear from a 6-12 students a year that I had the previous year and they are a big boost. Success on the AP exam, the light bulbs I see go on...I love these things. Laughing with the students...all very cool. When I get tired of someone asking for help on something I think they should get, I turn toward the board, roll my eyes, answer the question, and turn back around with a smile. Honestly, summer is also a huge motivation for me. At times I think, can I do this for 15 more years? Then I try to imagine working in June, July, August or working until 6 PM...yuck!
From Mr. D., English/ HS Yearbook Advisor:
Eight weeks, eh? Heck, the next 35 years will just fly right by, as my 14 years have.
As you know, we at the HS don't begin anew every year, but every 12 weeks. So what I find essential is to sap any enthusiasm and reason to live with a well-targeted sarcastic zinger. Students will then realize their minuscule significance in the vast educational machine, and cower in fear of another remark; the remainder of the trimester is smooth as silk. Works for me anyhow...
If that doesn't interest you, I've always found that a fun yet enlightening lesson is not only necessary for student attention, learning, etc., but also is energizing for me. Students can detect if you like your job, are having fun, and want to be there; they'll return the enthusiasm in kind. (Coffee in the morning, alcohol at night helps too.)
And, of course, make sure your sweater is properly tied around your shoulders; the kids can be brutal reminders of any fashion faux pas.
It is exactly the moments like this- when a student tells you what impact you made that keeps you going. Today I looked at one of my student teachers after our seminar on interviewing and asked how she was feeling. She said each of these seminars gets her a step closer to understanding what she needs to do. It was a genuine, heartfelt affirmation of the course and schedule I have designed.
*I think my main take-away from sharing these is realizing how blessed I was with MANY fantastic teachers. I guess partly I do it as a "thank you" to them!
And thank YOU for being a part of my first official week of blogging.