You made it through parent conferences, state testing and classroom craziness. If you made it this far, I truly hope that you feel a great sense of accomplishment.
You’ve set-up and designed your classroom, written tons of lesson plans, greeted and gotten to know your students, met with their parents, and produced report cards. Whew! Not easy tasks by any means! But they all come with the territory of being a hard-working teacher.
Hopefully, as we approach the end of the school year for many, you will now have a few weeks off. The time may seem to rush by, but I hope you will sincerely take this time to rest and reflect.
As you head into summer break (or your version of it, for our global readers), there are three things I want to share with you. Three words that encapsulate what you may be feeling now. Three words whose meaning may conjure up some epiphanies that I want you to take a moment to consider.
Patience: quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence; to work with patience. “-Dictionary.com
Teaching takes an incredible amount of patience. Not only that which you have with your students, their families and your colleagues, but most importantly with yourself. Be kind to yourself as you reflect on where you were and how far you’ve come. Give yourself time to really get a sense of what you worked hard to accomplish and what you still want to work on. Be patient with yourself as you plan and prepare for the days and weeks ahead. Kids are typically very antsy as summer (or their time off) is on the horizon. Remember that “patience” is a virtue and that, as a passionate educator, you always want to work to foster it.
Persistence: “the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed.” -Dictionary.com
How long have you been teaching? 5, 10, 20 years? Do you have a vision for the future of your work? Are you willing to strive to make it a reality? Will you stay persistent in this goal? I hope the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding…YES! Persistence in the face of restless students, anxious parents and the pressures of the school day is what it takes to be a leader. And teachers are that and so much more! As you roll up your sleeves every day, search out your lesson plans and get to the business of delivering instruction, persistence will keep you going despite the challenges that the end of the school year brings. Keeping a persistent, positive vision of the amazing things you can still accomplish with your class will make the struggle to get there all the more worthwhile.
Accomplishment: “something done admirably or creditably.” -Dictionary.com
Having a sense of accomplishment may sometimes take work…but it’s work worth doing. As a teacher, it may not be something that you seek as often as you should. You may have experienced much stress and pressure this year. Yet feeing accomplishment is a powerful sense of being that I highly encourage you to take the time to experience and master. Where is it, or when is it, that you most feel that you have accomplished a job well done? How can you work to experience this daily? To be able to feel accomplishment with a decision you make with a student, phone call you make to a parent, or with the results of an observation by your principal is going to be critical to your success. The positive sense of accomplishment in the work you’ve done with your students will spill over to your classroom environment, make for more positive daily interactions and carry you through the best and worst days as you wrap up the school year.
As you prepare to head into vacation time, my hope is that you will take a moment to reflect on these three words, define their meaning for yourself and your work and ask how you might use them to set a tone for your goals in the future. I also hope that you will relish your vacation time and look forward with excitement to your new school year!