Real teaching #teachwell

School has begun and getting back into the routine has been tough. Of course every year is a new year with a different routine. It didn't help that my car was backed into a tree and then my son's truck had an engine problem and we are stuck borrowing one car and sharing it back and forth.

I've had lunch duty or early morning/ break duty since school started and have an extra study hall to boot, so it is pretty exhausting these days. I'm still not in the routine. It doesn't help that I feel like I never really gave myself a summer vacation, but that is my own fault.

Meanwhile, my favorite part of my day (besides seeing my own children) is when my wonderful students come to class. That is all of them. They are incredible. We're taking computers apart in computer science and today they'll be teaching the fifth graders about many of the things they've learned. My 9th graders have been learning how to write a wiki and we're now getting into how to manage their lives and be more productive with their cell phones. We've been setting up dropbox, Google calendar, etc. and joining spaces as I remind them how to reset passwords.

One of the best things I've done with my IT company is to work to synchronize Google email logins with their password on the server and to sync PowerSchool with Active directory as well. This is called LDAP integration and it is a blessing because students only have one username and password to remember. But setting it up has been an unbelievable pain.

Life is busy with many things including Connected Educator Month and kicking off this year's class of Flat Classroom certified teachers as well as enrolling and setting up the projects for this semester. Julie Lindsay is working hard in Australia to be the lead administrator while I'm back here just trying to survive.

Meanwhile, at church, my husband and I are going through Dave Ramsey's “Financial Peace University” which I love. It is long overdue. I've had many blog commenters and Twitter friends recommend this to me over the years so when they offered it, I told my husband “my friends say it is wonderful” and “my friends” – whoever they are — are right. Just another example of how the many contacts, tweets, likes, and discussions do actually impact our knowledge even if the names blur.

Been working hard to promote the great resources on sharemylesson as they've officially launched now in the US and enjoy my weekly calls with Elli in the UK.

Meanwhile, I'm killing myself to finish up taxes and finish up this second book.

Life is crazy but it doesn't have to drive us crazy.
I share this just to share with you that all of us teachers live crazy busy lives. Balance is something we're always seeking and I am too.

We all have choices. We choose every day how to spend our time and our money. If you feel helpless like you have no choices, you're wrong — there are always choices in life, even if it is the attitude you'll have when facing circumstances not of our making.

Then, on top of it, I get emails and messages (quite a bit lately) of “free advice” saying I need to be more this or more that. I read it, take it to heart, and pray over it – for only fools don't listen. However, in the end, after it is said and done, I have to move on and live my life the best I can. It is too much and I know it is. I've gotten down to Inbox Zero (thankfully) and am staying there. I've gotten my other inboxes to zero including Facebook and Linked in and working to stay there. I'm so blessed with lots of interesting friends and conversation in many places I share including my tumblr blog at which has just gone crazy in the last few months. Tumblr is a big deal, that is for sure.

Sometimes I just sit and my desk and all I want to do is go back in time and hold my babies. But now, I've got a 6'6″ senior football player with gunboat arms and a beautiful tall model thin 6'1″ cheerleader who dwarf me everywhere we go. I love them and their lives are crazy. I never know when they'll be home or when they'll have their hands out for more money. My fifth grader is getting into football and still does tae kwon do. It is nuts.

We all have to do the best we can with what we have. If I asked you to write about your life – you'd have just as many paragraphs – if not more. Life is nuts and people don't understand teachers. I literally work at least 11-13 hour days grading and doing schoolwork these days and have the timecard to prove it. ;-)

It is OK that the world doesn't understand the life of a teacher – especially a mommy teacher — but we should understand each other. We should encourage each other. We should be there for each other.

I do find myself sometimes jealous of those writers about education topics who get to sit down in a quiet office with a candle burning and soft jazz playing as they write to their heart's content about all the things that should happen in education. I never find myself jealous of the jet setting type who is jumping on another plane to another location to try to motivate more people to get out of their comfort zone and be inspired.

I guess I just hope that the amount of writing and sharing I can do, crammed in between the slats of this full life I'm living are enough to encourage and help some people.

As with anything, I have to give you what I have to give and that has to be enough. You can't pour water out of an empty glass.

I'm from a family of teachers and often talk to my sister, Susan, about the struggles I have with sharing here. I feel like a pretty boring unexciting teacher with lunch duty and break duty who is writing up kids for dress code and trying to find time to grade and keep up with it all. I'm over the top with work to do.

Susan says that there is value in a teacher who is a real teacher in the classroom sharing and that the fact I'm teaching and trying to share does mean something.

I want to encourage all of those of you out there, like me, who feel like your life is very unexciting, and you're trying to keep your head above water, and trying to keep it all together — to know that whatever you share is important. It is enough. BUT IT IS NEEDED. We need real teachers sharing and encouraging each other.

I once had a fellow twitter-er rebuke me for using to schedule my tweets as he proudly proclaimed, “every tweet I make, I'm doing personally at that moment.” I replied, “Listen, if I tweeted during class and during school, it would be gross incompetence, I need to be focused on my students during class. I'm glad you have the kind of job and boss that let you tweet all day, but I would have a problem with me if I did that.”

There is a place for us. We'll have to share differently than all of those “free” people who don't have kids to watch and coach all day, but that is OK.

Don't let anyone put you down for being a teacher and I won't either. I wish I'd listen to my own advice because it really gets to me all the posts I should be writing and things I should be doing a better job of doing (editing my writing, for example ;-) I feel like I don't measure up to the “professional” social media mavens of education who pump out volumes of work and things that are so helpful.

But my good enough is good enough. So is yours. Do you see (if you've actually read this far in this rambling post) how insecurities and struggles hit us all? Do you see how life happens?

Please, teacher, take time to share a little. It is enough.

If all of us share a little, we can become a lot and right now what many of us teachers need more than anything is the voice of reality from today's classroom without the hype and rah rah sis boom bah festooning another program invented by a person sitting in an office with the fan running and uninterrupted peace for hours at at time.

We need to be real. We need real and we need each others. #teachwell

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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