Friday, January 31, 2014

Celebrating You

I was working on my computer at the Hurricane Coffee Company in Sequim, Washington, when I noticed their mission statement—Cultivate Relationships, Enjoy Life, and Make a Difference.

Wouldn't it be nice if that was how we could live our school days? I don't know about the teachers in your school, but the teachers in mine are beginning to feel the pressure of the impending high-stakes testing. The time-robbing, stress-inducing assessments are just around the corner, and it's evident by the increasing anxiety in the building.

I want to cheer you on, because I know that you are making a difference. I know that you cultivate relationships with children, their parents, and your teammates. And I know that for many of you, even though this is one of the hardest jobs on earth, you truly enjoy it and can't imagine devoting your life to anything else.

There are things we can do to buoy ourselves, strengthen our resilience, and not let the pressure get the best of us. On her blog, Amy Greick writes 12 tips for surviving the first year of teaching, but they are really wise advice for thriving during any year of teaching. Here are just a few of her smart ideas:

  • Have an outlet to relieve stress that is completely unrelated to teaching. 
  • Make peace with the fact that you will not be able to "do it all. 
  • Celebrate small achievements. 
  • Find something to love about every single kid, no matter how tough that might be. 
  • Think of something you loved about the day before you leave school, no matter how small it is. 
Head over to Juice Boxes and Crayolas if you'd like to read the entire blog post.

Kathy Bates recently honored Shirley MacLaine at the Kennedy Center Honors. She ended her speech to Shirley with words that made me think of all of you. (Insert your name in place of Shirley's, and replace artist with teacher.)

Shirley, friend of my heart, I am so proud to be here tonight to celebrate your magnificent accomplishments as an artist. I know you don't think of yourself that way. You're just passionate about what you do and you're still working hard at it. Don't stop! We think you're simply magnificent. Now. Forever.

So true. I know you are passionate about what you do and you're still working hard at it. Don't stop. Don't get discouraged. I think you're magnificent, too. Cultivate relationships, enjoy life, and keep making a difference.