Friday, February 3, 2017
Yesterday, I Felt Like a Good Teacher
Yesterday, I felt like a good teacher. Have you ever had a day where you felt like your lessons were right on target and you really taught your students something? That happened to me this week. I was teaching a math lesson on three digit subtraction with regrouping. Not the most exciting topic and one that can be extremely difficult for second graders.
I was showing my students a quick little video on subtracting across zeros. After the video was over, I decided to show my students a little trick that I use when I subtract across zeros. I take one away from both numbers and then subtract, no regrouping required. (Example: 300-251 becomes 299-250.) We tested it out on several different problems, solving them both ways. The differences were always the same. "Amazing," they said. "It's magical math," I said. Then, my students started clapping and I took a little bow. It was funny and a moment that I will remember.
Now, you say, that sounds like a tiny moment in your day. It was. I think it will stick with me because these moments are few and far between these days.
I feel like I am teaching from a script and constantly cramming my day to get all the content in. It's tough and it makes the days long. I don't know about you but much of my initial passion for teaching is gone. It's sad really because I was once so enthusiastic. I wanted every moment to be special and amazing. Well, that's not real life. There are days were nothing goes right. And isn't that usually a day when you get observed? The moments when things go exactly right stick out.
It concerns me that these moments have become so abnormal. I think much of it goes back to our country's educational situation. Teachers are constantly blamed for everything. Why is that? Where are the news reports about the good things in education? I wish everyone could see teachers teaching while students have meltdowns, giving food to students who didn't eat the night before, or buying a Thanksgiving meal for a student's family. There are more of these moments that deserve recognition and teachers should be praised for all the good that we put out into the world.
We are conditioned as teachers to feel like what we do is never good enough. It's never going to be enough. Well, I wanted you to know, you are a good teacher. You love your students. You worry about them when you aren't at school. You want the best for them. You are an amazing teacher.
Yesterday, I felt like a good teacher. I am a good teacher. I know you are too. Believe it.