What If Teachers Took Their Own Advice? Could It Change How We Teach?
Teachers are the heart of the school (don’t believe me? – read this). Teachers represent strength, knowledge, and love to their students. They offer encouragement when their students are struggling and acknowledgment and celebration when they do well.
Teachers wear many hats and have to be good at many things.
However, one thing that many teachers aren’t great is taking their own advice.
Imagine if teachers had a cheering section, much like they are for their students, to keep things good and positive.
Everyone can learn from the positive support of teachers, even themselves.
“Do your best.”
It’s said to set expectations, to encourage quality, and to support that variety of skill-levels in a classroom. But, even more importantly it’s true.
Teachers often feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. There’s never enough time (or energy) to get it all done. However, how good would it feel to know that what we are giving is enough. If we could step back and hear “Just, do your best” – maybe we could understand that our best is not only good enough – it’s all that we can expect from ourselves.
When the weight of the day is getting you down. When we can’t quite reach that one student. Or the workload seems stacked just too high. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to remind us to keep moving forward?
Teachers have a great way of nudging students along when they feel stuck or burned out on a certain task or skill. They are wonderful motivators because they need to engage all students. So, when the teacher is feeling stuck or burned out – remember you’re own advice – “just keep trying”. Sure once you get over this hump, they’ll be another one – but that’s life, filled with lots of tries.
“You can do it.”
Whether you are a first-year teacher or a veteran administrator. We could all use to hear these four little words now and again. The field of education can be highly demanding, it can be physically and emotionally (read this to see what I mean) taxing.
There is often a lack of vulnerability in education (like many professions). When things get tough the general unspoken rule is to suck it up and act like a professional. But, what if we could say to one another – “wow that was a tough day” or “I’m having a hard time” without fear or judgment? What if we could hear our own words as an educator echo back to us “You can do” “You’ve got this”? Sometimes a little acknowledgment and encouragement will go a long way in building strength and resilience. After all, that’s why we say it to our students.
“Tomorrow is a new day.”
Imagine if no matter how the day presented itself, how tired or stressed we felt at the end of the day of teaching if our last thoughts leaving the classroom room were of hope. Often they are, but I know I have been stuck in the funk too many times where I am watching the clock ready to race out of the room away from the day – only to end my evening wide awake in bed replaying every interaction and decision I had, questioning myself and my purpose.
When teachers tell their students that “tomorrow is another day” they are giving them permission to accept what happened today, but let it go – because there is hope. There is limitless opportunities and many more chances to get things right.
If we left our classrooms with that insight we would probably sleep better and we could start each day with a renewed optimism for the potential that is presented to us.