Don't ask your students to be you. You are not creating mini-me's. That is not your goal.
The average teacher thinks about talking cessation – the superior teacher cares about inspiring the next generation.
Aimless people are Columbus kind of people — when they set sail, they don't know where they are going. When they get there, they don't know where they are. When they get back, they have no idea where they've been. (heard from a Brian Tracey recording)
Be purposeful. Know where you're heading. Celebrate the accomplishment when you return. Be epic, purposeful, and clearly know what you're doing. Happy accidents happen sometimes but let your teaching and planning be purposeful adventures in learning.
Have a crystal clear vision of what you want your classroom to be. Hold it out and compare it to who you are today. Compete with yourself. Level up a little bit every day. Be you but be a better you everyday. Never settle to just be better than the person next door or down the hall – that is beneath you. Be a better you. Your students deserve to see a lead learner improving upon what you learned yesterday.
If you already have your copies made for the next six weeks, take them out back and burn them. We don't make copies in school – we make originals. When you get too automated, you start making automatons who leave small puddles of spittle on the desk and spitballs in the corner thrown to wake up their friend sleeping in the back. You can do better.
If they spit in my classroom it will be in hot debate about things that mean something not dead dates of things done by dead people. Those heroes who have gone before will not be the lifeless bones laying in the grave who did something awesome sometime but will come to life as living, breathing heroes making their decisions in front of the class in all of their heart-rending blood-boiling fervor. History comes alive. Everything comes alive – especially my students.
Your mission: to do something wonderful in your classroom.
But more than that…
Your mission: to find something wonderful in every child and hold it up to the light so they can observe the glistening facets of their own uniqueness. For they are beautiful contributions to the world – more beautiful than diamonds and far harder to shape and encourage unless it be done from the inside out.
I am in sales. I'm selling you on yourself. Buy yourself, teacher. For you can have all of the ancillaries and topiaries in the the world and nothing is more exciting than you. Nothing is more pivotal. Nothing is more hopeful. Nothing is more driving. And nothing is more joy-killing either.
It is you. Buy yourself. Buy into the fact that your learning, your excitement and your raw determination determine everything about your classroom.
You are the one. It starts with you. All of it. The epicness, the excitement, the wonder-full-ness. You.
Take out a finger and point it up into the air — high high high into the sky. Then take that finger and point it right back at yourself… at your heart… at your mind… at your hands and your feet. These are your weapons and it isn't a secret. Great teaching is done by great teachers. Teachers who have bought into themselves and the fact that they can improve their art if they learn.
A dwarf standing on a giant's shoulders can see further than the giant. You don't have to be the giant, just learn from them.
Teaching is a profession — on of the few — where you can rise to the status of almost being a saint – were that possible. Yet, those true saint-teachers aren't in it for sainthood, they aren't even in it for any attention. They are in it for the epic challenge of dealing with problems that come with hair on top.
Superior teachers don't see problems, they see possibilities.
So teacher, I am asking you this moment. Buy yourself. You're the greatest thing you could ever bring to your classroom. If your heart is not in your classroom, your students won't want to be either. You — you're the greatest thing you can bring to class today.
Bring it. Bring you.
Tips for minimizing teacher stress
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- Learn tips to help you deal with difficult colleagues and students (even those who "hate" you -- yes it is possible!)