I am sharing thoughts from the book There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith. This is a great read for any educator.
"Just because you're working hard doesn't mean you're a good teacher. It just means you're working hard."
Mr. Esquith is a very dedicated educator and you can read more about that if you look into his story. He gets to school early and leaves late. He works with students during his breaks and on holidays. He goes above and beyond. I have to say that I don't. The last two years I have exlempified the quote above. I don't think I was working smart. I worked crazy hard, but that didn't mean I was a good teacher.
I am doing a lot of reflection this summer, because I am changing grade levels and the expectations are different. I want to be smarter about how I work. I want to make all the time count. I also need to remember this:
"To all of you who are proud that you put your students first, make sure you give yourself equal time. It's rather romantic to say you'd die for your students. I used to say that. I now know I'm worth more to them alive."
I really made that mistake this last year. I threw myself into my work. I would arrive early, stay late, work every night at home, plan and prepare most of the weekend, and every holiday was full of work for me. I was burning myself out.
I am a perfectionist, for good or bad that is what I am. I want to be perfect and I thought the only way to do that was to work all the time. There were lots of breakdowns with my family, where I cried and wanted to quit. I am not proud of that. There were several times during the year that I actually searched for a new job. That killed me. I have never wanted to do anything but teach.
So this summer I decided I was going to take time for myself, relax, and reevaluate. I am looking forward to a new challenge. I have learned a lot about myself and teaching in the last 2 years. I don't want to make the same mistakes. I want to focus on the positive.
Goals for 2012-2013 school year:
- Use my time wisely
- Have a thought out plan and schedule and follow it
- Go to church every Wednesday night
- Plan at least one activity every week that is not school related
- Keep a positive journal where I can record the positive things that happen every week
"I knew that I had to be the person I wanted the kids to be. I never want my kids to be depressed or despairing about any bad breaks or failures that they've had. Well, that had to apply to me as well. I now knew that I wanted the kids to work hard, then I'd better be the hardest-working person they'd every known. If I wanted them to be kind, I'd better be the kindest human being they'd every met. Teaching must be by example, not by lecture."
I completely agree with this statement. Teachers can be the rudest people in the room. I like learning new things, but I hate staff development because of how rude the teachers are during the presentations. They talk, laugh, and don't pay attention, things they don't allow their students to do in the classes. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. During assemblies, our students are watching us. Are we listening respectfully or talking with other teachers while the principal is talking? Things like that can void all our good intentions.