The one whose weary body hits snooze 5 times before hurriedly rushing out the door to get to school on time.
I’m talking to you.
The permanently positive teacher who slides into the classroom on rainbows and dreads the end of the school year because it means having to say goodbye to your students.
I’m talking to you.
And all of you amazing teachers in between.
I’m talking to you, too.
To the teacher who doesn’t like a classroom full of stuff and has opted for a more streamlined and calming decor scheme, IT’S OKAY. It doesn’t mean you’re not an awesome teacher because your classroom isn’t gracing the homepage of Pinterest. Maybe it just means that a Pinterest worthy classroom just isn’t your jam. Maybe you teach better in a classroom with less “stuff”. Maybe you’ve opted to let your students do the bulk of your decorating. Maybe you don’t have access to funds that would allow you to decorate like crazy. Maybe your administration has adopted the “less is more” motto in regards to classroom decor. Maybe you’ve decided to use your $$$ to decorate your home instead of your classroom. Believe me…IT’S OKAY.
To the teacher with the Pinterest worthy classroom, IT’S OKAY. It’s okay to have a decked out classroom. It doesn’t make you a better teacher than anyone else, it just makes you a teacher who loves to decorate. And that’s okay. Maybe you’ve taken on an extra summer job so that you could decorate your classroom in a way that makes you happy. Maybe you spend 8+ hours a day in your home away from home and want it to feel less like a work space and more like your home. Maybe you love decorating and beam with excitement and pride at the prospect of decorating a classroom at the beginning of each school year. Maybe you just like well organized and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Sweet teacher friend, you do you. IT’S OKAY.
To the teacher who uses a behavior chart in your classroom even when everyone else is telling you to stop, IT’S OKAY. Behavior charts aren’t always a bad thing depending on how they’re used. It doesn’t mean you’re a mean teacher or even that you like to humiliate your students. Maybe you’re using it in a way no one understands & you’ve found a ton of success doing so. Maybe it’s the ONLY thing that works for you and your kids. Maybe, just maybe, you know your kids and the dynamics of your classroom better than anyone else and I trust that you do!!! 🙂
To the teacher who has decided to use an alternative method of behavior management that doesn’t include a behavior chart, IT’S OKAY. It doesn’t mean you have no classroom managment skills. Maybe you’ve tried to use a behavior chart and by day 3, you’ve forgotten to remind your students to keep track of their color. Maybe you’ve tried behavior charts before and you haven’t found any success. Maybe the way you’ve implemented behavior charts in the past has been ineffective. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t like the idea of behavior charts at all.
To the teacher who has opted out of including a flexible seating arrangement in your classroom, IT’S OKAY. There are so many new trends to implement & the thought of trying them all is daunting. Maybe the idea frightens you and right now you’re trying to tackle one thing at a time, so flexible seating can wait. Maybe you’re waiting to see if this trend is just a fad. Maybe you’ve decided against flexible seating options at the moment until you have time to do more research on it’s benefits. Maybe your administration isn’t on board. Maybe your school doesn’t have the funds. Maybe, just maybe, flexible seating just isn’t your thing.
To the teacher who has decided to include a flexible seating arrangement in your classroom even when no one else in your building agrees with your choice, IT’S OKAY. Maybe you love trying new ideas and are willing to try anything if it means it will benefit your students. Maybe you were lucky enough to be the recipeint of a grant and all of your flexible seating choices were fully funded (yay you!!!). Maybe you feel like flexible seating will help you with classroom management. Maybe you know your kids better than everyone else and you’re certain flexible seating will help them become better learners. IT’S OKAY!
To the teacher who has decided to end the year with a countdown, IT’S OKAY. I don’t believe that you’re anxious to send your students to the next grade nor do I think you’re dying for summer break to start already. We all get it…summer fever is starting to set in and we’re all ready to turn off those alarm clocks!!! Maybe you’re just excited about the progress your kids have made throughout the year and a countdown is a visual reminder to you of the great work you’ve done preparing them for the year that lies ahead. Maybe your countdown serves as a visual reminder of the time you have left with your babies and you want to make every day…every minute…every moment count. Maybe your students suggested a countdown because they’re looking forward to summer and counting down is just plain fun! Maybe you’ve always ended the year with a countdown and want to continue the tradition. IT’S OKAY!
To the teacher who’s decided to take down the countdown and end the year on a different note instead, IT’S OKAY. It doesn’t mean that you’re a better teacher than those who’ve decided to keep theirs up, but it’s a personal choice you’re excited about for the end of the year and that’s awesome for you and your kids. Everyone sees this subject differently and no one is “wrong”. Maybe you’re worried about what a countdown says to your kids about the time you have left together. Maybe you can’t keep up with a countdown and like the year to end when it ends. Maybe countdowns just aren’t your thing. It’s OKAY.
To the teacher who can’t wait for summer break….it’s OKAY. Your anticipation of a summer break filled with no alarm clocks, bathroom breaks on demand, flexible lunch times, and the occasional nap is totally understandable and quite frankly well deserved. Looking forward to a break doesn’t mean you don’t love teaching or that you’re ready to say goodbye to your students. It just means you’re ready for a break, and that’s okay!!!! Every teacher needs time to recharge. Every teacher needs time to “miss” her/his classroom and then come back full force in August ready and raring to go. And let’s be real….it’s never really a much of a break anyway, is it?! LOL.
To the teacher who can’t wait for the weekend….IT’S OKAY. Maybe you’ve had a tough week on a personal or professional level. Maybe you’re feeling like you’ve failed in some way and you can’t wait to step away from it all for a couple of days to recharge and refocus. Maybe you’re traveling to see friends or family and you can’t wait to see your loved ones. Maybe you’re itcing to spend two days in your pajamas chasing around the tiny little humans your’e raising on the homefront. Liking or posting a “THANK GOODNESS IT’S FRI-YAY!!!” post doesn’t make you a bad teacher. It makes you human. IT’S OKAY.
To the teacher with the case of the Mondays, IT’S OKAY. It’s okay for you to be tired on a Monday and post…or like… a silly Monday meme on social media about the end of a fabulous weekend. It doesn’t mean you loathe the idea of seeing your students or love your school week any less than anyone else. Maybe it just means you have a wickedly amazing sense of humor and Monday memes make you laugh. Maybe you just need someone to validate the way you’re feeling and posting for some likes makes you feel less alone. Maybe, just maybe, you’re finding the work week a little bittersweet as you kiss your own kids goodbye in a hurried rush to take care of your 26 school babies and you’re wishing you had another 24 hours to be at home with them. Maybe it just means you’re stressed and overwhelmed about the demands of your responsibilities of a teacher and a sarcastic meme helps to lighten your burdened spirits. IT’S OKAY.
To the teacher who slides into your classroom each morning on rainbows with a smile on your face & an extra pep in your step, IT’S OKAY. The world needs more happiness and we’re glad you’re spreading it like wildfire. Maybe you’re just a happy person and you choose to go out of your way to avoid negativity. It’s okay to be optimistic and encourage others to try to be optimistic, too. Maybe you’re just a happy person and optimism comes naturally. Maybe you’re experiencing heartache and positivity is the only way to block out the hurt in your life. Maybe you know that the only way you can live a positive life is by surrounding yourself with postivite thinking and positive people. Maybe you’re just trying to fake it until you make it. IT’S OKAY.
To the teachers who occasionally vent about your disappointments & frustrations, IT’S OKAY. It’s okay for you to be frustrated about the progress…or lack thereof…of your students. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost hope. Maybe you just care a whole lot about your kids and you want them to do better because you know they can. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re not enough. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the burdens of our ever growing responsibilities & cringe at the thought of adding “one more thing” to your plate. It doesn’t mean you hate being a teacher. It doesn’t mean you don’t like your students. It means you’re human and you need to talk to people who “get” you. There’s only so much a significant other can hear about school until it starts to fall on deaf ears, LOL (just ask my husband 😉 haha) We all need a sounding board and who better to relate to than a fellow teacher?! There’s a difference between venting out of frustration and being negative for negativity’s sake. Oh, dear teacher friends….IT’S OKAY!!!!
To the teacher who feels like you can’t do it all, IT’S OKAY. You don’t have to. And you shouldn’t. It’s impossible to be on 100% of your time in every area of your life. Sometimes you fall short and there’s nothing wrong with that. We were never made to be perfect, thank God!!! As teachers, parents, friends, etc….we WILL fall short. It’s inevitable. Allow yourself some grace, get back up, and keep going. IT’S OKAY.
To the teacher who seems like she has it all together, IT’S OKAY. It’s okay that you really don’t. The world may see a smiling face, perfectly coifed hair, great outfit, organized classroom, and the seemingly head-scratching way you are able to do everything “perfectly”, but don’t feel like you’re any less because you can’t live up to those perceptions. It’s okay to be vulnerable and let your guard down. It’s okay that you aren’t as together as it seems. There’s a wonderful freedom in letting go of those self-imposed expectations. IT’S OKAY. You are enough.
To the teacher who feels alone, IT’S OKAY. But just be reassured that you are NEVER alone. Even in a building where it seems like you are, you are NEVER alone. You have a classroom full of kids who need you. You are not alone. You have a community of teachers who FEEL you. You are not alone. Join an online community…participate in group discussions…find your person! IT’S OKAY!!! You are NOT alone!
To the teacher experiencing difficulty with a parent/parent(s), IT’S OKAY. This too, shall pass. Maybe there was a miscommunication. Maybe you can’t live up to their expectations. Maybe you made a mistake. Maybe they just don’t like you. IT’S OKAY. Parent/teacher relationships can be a beautiful thing, but sometimes they’re downright hard. Each relationship is a learning experience and an opportunity for you to grow both personally and professionally. It’s okay to cry about it. It’s okay to worry about how it will affect you professionally. But don’t let it get you down personally because in the end, IT’S OKAY.
To the teacher who had a rough evaluation, IT’S OKAY. You will survive and come out better for it on the other side. Maybe you were having a rough day. Maybe your kids were having a rough day. Maybe you froze up and forgot how to teach (hey, it’s happened to all of us, LOL). Maybe your administrator was having a bad day. Maybe your administrator has it out for you. Maybe, just maybe, this is an opportunity for you to grow. A bad evaluation might seem like the end of the world, but it’s not. It’s really not. It will pass, you will grow, and next year you’ll knock it out of the ballpark. IT’S OKAY.
To the teacher who loves implementing new and exciting ideas in your classroom in the midst of disapproval from your co-workers, IT’S OKAY. It’s okay to be innovative and creative. It’s okay to step out of the box and do something that’s never been done before. Great ideas aren’t born out of comfort. Just because it’s always been done the same doesn’t mean it always has to be done the same way. You’re not bad teacher (or bad person) for wanting to try something different. Maybe you’re tired of doing the same thing over and over and something new brings you a renewed excitement for teaching. Maybe you love trying fresh ideas and exciting things in the classroom. None of this means you respect or love your teammates any less, it just means you have your own ideas you want to bring to the table and THAT’S OKAY!!!!
To the teacher who hates change, IT’S OKAY. Change is scary! It doesn’t mean you’re a bad teacher, it just means you like the lane you’re in and you’d rather not turn on your blinkers to switch just yet. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?! Are your kids happy? Are they learning? Are they growing and progressing?! Well then, good for you! Maybe you’re just a creature of habit. Maybe change is a terrifying prospect for you. Maybe you know what works and you prefer the path of least resistance. IT’S OKAY!!!
To the teacher who doesn’t blog/Tpt/Instagram/Facebook, IT’S OKAY!!!! It doesn’t make you less of teacher. It just means you’re a teacher who has chosen to forego a social media presence and invest your precious, precious time in the things you dearly love instead. IT’S OKAY!!!
To the teacher who blogs/TpTs/IGs/FBs, IT’S OKAY! You aren’t a better teacher because of your social media presence, but you are quite a bit busier. Busier isn’t always better, but you’ve chosen to forge this path because it’s an outlet you LOVE. You love being part of an online community and connecting with other teachers from around the world who “get” you. Instead of curling up on the couch with a good book at the end of a long day, you’ve chosen to bury your head in the computer creating resources for other teachers, sharing ideas, and staying connected with all things education. IT’S OKAY!!!! And it’s okay when you go through seasons of silence, too 🙂 Just like Ross and Rachel, everyone needs a break.
To the teacher who has decided to leave the classroom, IT’S OKAY. The teaching profession will miss you like crazy, but you’ve made the best decison for yourself & your family and that’s perfectly fine. Maybe you realized you were being called in another direction. Maybe you had a string of bad years and need time to mentally recover. Maybe you’ve decided to stay home and raise your family. Maybe you’ve decided to go back to school. In any case, GOOD FOR YOU. IT’S OKAY!
I don’t know much, but I do know that no matter who you are and how you teach, there will always be someone (whether it be an administrator, parent, co-teacher, or social media presence) who may intentionally or inadvertently make you feel “less than“. Be it through a blog, Facebook post, Instagram picture, a quote, a photo, a pin, a conversation, a mass email, a team meeting, a parent/teacher conference….there are SO many avenues that open us all up to both give and recieve criticism. And depending on how you feel, it can be downright terrifying or empowering. It can make us feel inadequate or righteous. Just remember when you feel like you’re on the receiving end, your value is not based on someone else’s opinion of who you are, how you teach, or anything else.
No matter your belief or philosophy, for the sake of teachers everywhere, just remember that IT’S OKAY. You just go on and do you because that’s what you know how to do best. And the only goal you need is to be a better version of the teacher/teammate/colleague you were the day before. Our profession receives so much criticism from people outside of our field.
Let’s not make criticism an inside job, too.