Good Grief

Change is tough.  It is so exhausting to be a person who fosters change.  I live and breathe the challenge on a daily basis as do so many of the readers of this blog.

Some of the things I've heard in the last two weeks: 

“Why should kids work with someone else in the world?  Isn't Camilla good enough for them?”

“All we had was a school desk, books, a pencil, and the teacher's paddle, and that worked for us.”

“Why should we accommodate kids with LD, not everyone can succeed in this world!”

“Just be a teacher and don't share with everyone else what you do here — what do you want to help them?  Just teach, that is enough for the rest of us.”

There is no doubt that we are moving towards a higher acceptance rate of technology as an essential part of schools, however, with this higher adoption are more questions and push back than ever.

Is it even worth it?

As I sit back and ponder this, I remember that there are times in my life when the grief was worth it!  I have three beautiful children and one miscarriage.  The miscarraige was agonizing grief and come to think of it, there was also a lot of grief in bringing the three beautiful children I have.  (especially my 10 lb 3 oz baby girl! Whew!)

One time, the miscarriage, I was sick for three months, and then, horrible, heartbreaking disappointment.  Was the grief worth it at the time?  NO!  I felt like I had nothing to show for it!  It was horrible!

But, looking back, I wouldn't even have my wonderful first born if I had had the baby I miscarried – and what would I do without my first born son?  Was the grief worth it — in retrospect, yes.  Every single sickness and illness and pain I endured was worth it to get my beautiful three kids into this world. 


Sometimes our efforts are thrown into something and it completely fails!  We think it is worthless and that it was all for nothing.  We want to quit.

However, I think of pioneers.  Those who sweated and struggled out west here in the US.  It was truly difficult.  Many fell by the wayside and yet they opened up the settlement of the west.  Every society has a story of their pioneers.  Their revolutionaries.  The lonely, struggling, persecuted, fighting few who brought about truly positive change.  Those whose grief finally and ultimately brought about the good of their society.  Good grief.

That is you and I.  Those who are driven out of love and hope that we are reaching this generation with some new tools.  Those of us who know there is no “magic pill” or “super website” that will fix all of our ills, but that teachers with heart, hard work, and knowledge of technology tools AND the tools of the past that still work can produce positive results.  People willing to take the challenge of building bridges that the societies of tomorrow will walk across.

These are tough days and yet… somehow… I look at it and think that in ten years, we'll look back at the “good old days” when we were in the infancy of truly great, positive change and be thankful that we endured this grief.

Somehow, holding onto this and also seeing my own children improve their grades as I use technology to help them study, lets me see the good in the grief.

So, when you have your headache or heartache over things related to technology today, wipe your forehead and smile — say “Good Grief” as the special sign to yourself and others “in the know” that you are celebrating your part in this evolution of education and are willing to endure the heartache because you see a better day tomorrow for students and education as a whole.

And though people of today will not thank you, you will put your name, in its own way, along with the names of other pioneers in history.

Keep the faith. Remember that teaching (next to parenting) is the most noble calling on earth.

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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.

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Melanie Holtsman October 14, 2008 - 11:54 am

Thanks for this message this morning. Since my life is technology at work and four kids at home I say, “Good grief” a lot. Actually, it can be empowering to others to know that you, too, struggle and find it hard to deal with everything. My favorite stories to tell other teachers are the “blonde” moments I have with technology and when someone says something discouraging to me I go to my tech-chick friends to commiserate and move on. Thanks for sharing our hardships as well as highlights!

Danita Russell October 15, 2008 - 1:23 am


You have no idea how much I needed this post today! I heard some of the same comments from my teachers while I was teaching them about SmartBoard tools. I can’t believe that there are still teachers who think in such a 19th century way of teaching. I will definitely be saying “Good Grief” a lot as I feel frustrated and discouraged. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous October 15, 2008 - 1:26 am


Chris D. October 15, 2008 - 10:14 am

So true, so true. Although the words are not the same, the tone of the comments I hear are. The ones I hear from colleagues are more like, “I teach a REAL subject” (since I teach Art). Or I hear, “I don’t have time to let my students PLAY on computers.”

It does get discouraging but then I have a conversation with a colleague who understands and we get excited about a new tech tool or site we’ve discovered.

You are right about “Good Grief.” We are lucky to be teaching in a time of such change. It is truly a pivotal moment in education and we can choose to go in the direction of the unknown, or back where it’s safe. Choosing the safe route, while easier, does not prepare our students for the world they will encounter in their NEAR future, like now.

Thanks for you comisseration, it’s good to know you’re human, but let’s trudge on…

I will utter the words, “Good Grief” today for sure!

kerry October 17, 2008 - 10:03 am

That was a wonderful post. Good grief. I thought that that was an oxymoron, but in the end i agree with you.
Sometimes grief is worth it!

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere