Teaching and the Sea

A sailor plods along the narrow streets of his city.
Glad to be home on leave and yet something is alack.
The salty air. the gulls. fog of morning. the sun upon his back.

She, the sea, calls him.

Though life ashore is pleasant with dear loved ones close,
something is always amiss without the kiss of spray upon his appled cheek.

He is in love with the sea, though he know not how.

The teacher plods along the grocery aisle,
glad for summer and yet something invisible calls.
The salty sweat of youth. the parents. squeals in the halls.

Shiny youthful faces call her.

Though summer life is pleasant with dear loved ones close,
teaching is sprayed softly like graffiti on her appled heart.

She is in love with teaching, though she know not how.

This is me.
To explain my love of teaching is like a sailor trying to explain his (or her) love of the sea.  It cannot be done.  For one with salt in his veins, the sea is part of the composition of his loins and he cannot shake the embrace of her waters.

I speak as one with teaching in my veins, the classroom with all its bustle and hustle is part of the very core of my being. I would love for students and teachers to sit upon my grave and have a class just so I could be near to it when I pass away.  I cannot shake the love I have for my students.

I think if it were only for the love of the students… teachers would teach forever.

And yet, I almost quit at the end of the first day of school today.  It wasn't the students.  It was all of the other “stuff” that is on my increasingly impossible list.

And yet, I really keep this to myself.  I don't like whiners who have lives that never change.  I believe that problems without action are like a chafe that turns into a bed sore.  If one doesn't move, the bed sore can gangrene and progress to further pain.  Problems and stress are a signal that something is wrong.

So, after much prayer and propping up my feet, I've been working on plans to take in on Monday to help this work load become manageable.  An unmanageable workload doesn't help anyone and if it just kills me, it takes away everything my family needs.  So, think of me next week as I continue to look at my life, pare down and get things back to a manageable state so that I can give my family what they need of me.

I also love blogging.  Conversing here with you and sharing things that will make your classroom a better place is a dear, wonderful part of my life.  Honestly, when I look at it, my favorite “hobby” is blogging.  I've missed it as I've thrown myself into a list of over 100 things to support the network and get my classes started!  And in many ways, blogging IS teaching.  I'm sharing with you what I've learned and also love it when you teach me.

Mid Course Corrections
And yet if you (and I) are looking at things that are totally unmanageable and do nothing to change things we are a sad case.  Two of my favorite quotes from places I know not where:

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. 

I love teaching.  And yet, I have make the changes necessary to teach at the school I love with all my heart without it killing me.

There are so many of us who are this way… and yet it is the other things that push us away from our bliss.

I don't have answers for dealing with the burdens.   We all have them.  Like the sea, teaching can drown us. And only we know when the things are pushing us to our breaking point.  Act before you break, I will.

Still, it is worth it.   Teaching is a part of me and who I am.  To extricate teaching from me would be as impossible as banishing a sailor from the sea.

So, teachers.  As we begin the new year and struggle to adjust our schedules and lives to all that teaching is, here's to you.  Teaching still remains the most noble calling on earth. 

Teaching is often lonely, and yet, like the sailor, we go back until it claims us or until the cost becomes too great.

Keep the faith.

Image Citation
Count the Cost by Andreal.  Photo is licensed from iStockPhoto and not for reproduction.

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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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murcha August 9, 2008 - 12:59 am

Thank you for a wonderful post. I too just love teaching but all the things that surround it can be so time consuming and brain draining. The extra admin requirements now eat into so much other precious time. Every now and then, I have to take time off from all the online connectedness.
However, like you I just love blogging, my students love blogging and now the other staff in our school do too. With this social network, we can share, support, comfort, connect and engage on a scale so grand now …. and the ‘funny’ thing is that the students more and more become part of this network with our blogging interaction and not just our students but the frequent visitor students we have to our blogs!!
I am of early retirement age but dont want to retire yet as the advent of web2.0 has made teaching, schools and education so exciting and meaningful.
Your sea analogy was so appropriate for me too, as I grew up by the sea, still live close to the sea and feel a bond with that, just as I do with the students.

Monarch's Librarian Blog August 9, 2008 - 1:09 am

As I read your blog, I felt like you had jumped into my head and wrote my story. I feel the same way you do about my kids and about teaching. I have been taking a long hard look at the demands of my job and the state of my home life and I know that SOMETHING needs to change. Already this week I made 1 important change: I now leave my job at 4pm. Now I need to work on leaving the job at the school and not brining it home.

Manaiakalani August 9, 2008 - 2:24 am

Kia ora
What a great post! I also love teaching and even though I mostly teach teachers now, the thing that I often come back to my school from a PD session thinking is that so many problems that teachers raise would change perspective if they just loved teaching.
And if life is challenging when you feel like that about teaching, it doubles when you are married to a teacher who also loves teaching. And now 2 of our kids at Uni have chosen teaching as a career. The passion has rubbed off!
Having said that, there is no doubt that the peripheral things impinging on our first love make it more and more challenging to function effectively. Good on you for not giving up!

Mrs Mac August 9, 2008 - 7:44 am

What a great reflective post. Like the two previous comments you have echoed virtually everything that hubby (also a teacher) and I constantly discuss. Luckily for us we have a yacht and we can escape to the sea to renew our energy and come back to our students with revamped enthusiasm. We both are also of early retirement age but with all this fantastic technology making our teaching and learning so much more exciting we just don’t want to break away from it yet. All the best for your new class.

Janice Robertson August 9, 2008 - 5:16 pm

Oh my… I cannot even imagine what kind of a rough day would prompt you to write that you almost quit on the first day!!!!! All that I know of you, from your postings is your overwhelming enthusiasm and passion for what you do…I can not imagine anything strong enough to take a bite out of that life force love of teaching that you seem to exude. Therefore, I’m saddened that other things… other than students… managed to get you down a bit. Hopefully, your action plans for making things manageable will help. Thanks for sharing.

mrsaholder August 9, 2008 - 7:22 pm

Thank you for the lovely poem…I put it on my blog and discussed it too. Teaching is my heart and soul in recent years I have had to learn to leave most of it at home but this summer I discovered blogging which has replaced quilting as a favorite hobby. At times words fly from my finger tips and I feel I have more to say than anyone could possibly want to read. As far as recharging for the students us landlubbers escape to the woods, funny how nature restoreth the soul…….again thanks for the insights and thoughtfulness you express on a regular basis.

Allison Sherwin August 9, 2008 - 8:18 pm

Thank you for your post. I won’t be starting school (with students) for another couple of weeks, but I remember that feeling from the last couple of years…being so excited about teaching students and getting bogged down by all the extras and the negative people who dwell on the extras.

Reading your post and the comments have helped me to reaffirm my rules…leave at 4 pm, complete those tedious tasks as soon as I receive the email – then delete it!, and remind myself daily that the students are the reason that I am teaching.

Have a great year!

HoosierGirl5 August 10, 2008 - 1:36 am

This is excellent! What an inspiration! I am going to share your site with my co-teachers.


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