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Monday, February 25, 2013

Dear Prospective Teacher,

Tales from the Teachers' Lounge
*There are many things about the teaching profession that you do not learn from college no matter how accredited the program you are in.  So I decided to write a letter to future teachers.*

Dear Future Teacher,

You are embarking on a lifelong journey.  Teaching is not a job, nor is it just a career; it's a life choice.  Once you are a teacher, you will never look at things the same again.  The fact that you have a heart for teaching means your heart is open.  Bless you for opening up your heart for children, coworkers, curriculums, families, losses, successes, bad days, good days, ups, and downs.

Many people have probably asked you what you are going to be "when you grow up."  Some may have shuddered or questioned why you would choose to be a teacher.  Don't let them get to you.  Yes, teaching is hard.  No, we don't make enough money or receive extrinsic reward, but those people have never been in your shoes.  Those people have never celebrated with overwhelming joy a child learning to tie his/her shoes.  Those people have never wiped the tears of a child after their first breakup.  Those people have rarely stepped foot within a school (since graduation) let alone a classroom so they don't know.  They don't know what its like to be a teacher.  They don't know the hard stuff or the good stuff.

Once you are a teacher, there is little hope of you being truly happy in any other position.  You are here for this reason: to teach.  Don't stress about the paperwork, the curriculum, the text book, the standardized tests.  Do what you must for your principal and district, but remember this:  In the long run, they won't matter.  Instead, focus on the smiles you put on children's faces, teach them patience, respect, and kindness.  Take time to listen.  I mean, really listen.  Not just nodding your head and smiling.  Hear these children.  Empower them.  Give them authentic ways to learn so that they might be motivated to bring good into this world as adults.  Be a role model for these children.  Lead not by your words, but by your actions.  Be who you want them to be.  Show them how to do the right thing and when to do the hard thing.

Put in the time, the extra time, to be with them after class.  Whether you host a club, coach a sport, or simply tutor them in your own subject.  Take the time after class to get to know them on a more personal level.  Ask them about their families, their desires, their dreams.  Take genuine interest in their hearts and they will do the same for you.  Celebrate the good grades, the high test scores, the growth.  But, don't forget to also celebrate the birthdays, the soccer goals, and making the squad.  You see, to your students, you are an idol.  To them, the things that matter are not from a textbook.  If you invest in those learning experiences, those are the lessons your students will remember from you for years to come.  And if you're lucky, they'll also remember how to graph a linear equation or the time you read them a book that made you cry.

Because you are becoming a teacher, you are already on a pedestal.  You are special.  You are important.  You are making a difference in this world every single day.  Do not allow the small things to take that away from you.  Paperwork, test scores, data programs will always pile up.  There will never be enough time to address it all - take the time to notice what your students need, focus on that, and fill in the gaps with the "stuff" you are required  to do.

For the days that are hard, God bless you.  For the times you don't hear it, THANK YOU.  For the students who don't say it, you rock.  For the days you don't feel it, we appreciate you.

A Teacher

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  1. This is beautiful!! Thanks for sharing :).

    ♥ Talia

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