A rattlesnake double take and taking responsibility for my classroom

This morning's daily challenge on Twitter was to walk outside. I try to do the challenges I give all of you (they are real, I write them as much for myself as for you to work on the things that are important), so this morning, I decided to walk with Mom, Dad and the dogs on the farm.

I admit that I didn't go barefooted because it was a 2  mile walk, although in a bit,I am going to walk outside barefooted back here at home.
Just about 10 minutes after I took the photo of the five dogs that chose to accompany us, as I was watching for the rattlesnake that my Aunt Nan killed this morning on her walk, I almost stepped on it… or I thought it was the rattlesnake she killed. Just as I got ready to put my foot down on the old brown leaves, I saw the snake, and said “ooh” then put my foot to the back side of the snake and said,
“Oh there is the snake that…”
my words trailed off as I realized that this snake's tongue was flicking in and out of its mouth. This snake was very very ALIVE!
Oh dear. 
“That is a live rattlesnake!”
I grabbed the Jack Russell terrier, my “brother”, Doc, and Dad grabbed the walking stick to dispatch the enemy who had taken up rest near the swings where the kids play. 
What a close call!

Who is to blame for the snake in the road?

Then, I thought to myself. Well, what if this had been someone else and they were out walking with their parents and five dogs because I challenged them to and had stepped on a rattlesnake, whose fault would it be? Would they blame me because of a challenge I posted on Twitter?
There is an advertisement on TV down here in South Georgia for a lawyer where the person literally says “This may be your lucky accident” and encourages the person who has had an accident to sue and contact these lawyers to do it.
Our world is chock full of people who will not accept responsibility. More than that, it is full of people who won't accept the fact that accidents happen in a world where there is injustice and sadness. This world isn't heaven or it would be called heaven. It isn't hell either (most of the time) or else it would be called that. It is earth, which is oft times a mix of both. 
Many want to blame everyone else for things that happen for no reason at all. They just happen.
How does this relate to education?
There are many recommendations for how to run your classroom… use this tool… use that tool…do this… do that. Challenges everywhere.

This is your walk. Use your eyes. 

Ultimately, this is your walk and you have to use your eyes and your senses and accept responsibility for what happens in your classroom. It is yours. No matter who issues the challenge, ultimately, you have to figure out how to move your classroom ahead.

Succeed anyway.

There are plenty of excuses, plenty of people to blame. Those who succeed, do it DESPITE the challenges. They find a way to make a difference and love their students and teach them ANYWAY.

Blaming others makes you bitter.

If you're playing the blame game, it is destructive and disheartening. It is a sure fire way to turn yourself into a bitter, sad person.

What you can't and can do.

  • I can't do everything but I can do something to improve my classroom.
  • I can't reach every student but I can reach some students.
  • I can reach one more student a day.
  • I can love students who are hard to love.
  • I can be noble by behaving nobly every day in my responses, emotional control, and professionalism.

Time is short. Life is short. 

Teaching is an incredible profession, a calling, and a great responsibility. We should hold our students accountable and accept responsibility ourselves. 

Your best has to be enough because it is all you have to give.

If you've given every thing you have and at the end of the day you still fall short, you can live with yourself knowing that you've done your best. Your best is all you can do. There is no reason stressing over what you can't control. Control what you can and the only thing in your life over which you have almost 100% control is you!


What is one thing that is upsetting you the most? 


What is one thing you can do to improve that one area? 


What advice do you have to those teachers who are blaming others instead of accepting responsibility over what they can control? Any wisdom to add?

Never miss an episode

Get the 10-minute Teacher Show delivered to your inbox.

Powered by ConvertKit
Picture of Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

All Posts »
The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere
Update Required Flash plugin