I was grabbing a smoothie one morning when a familiar face walked into the store, a former coworker of mine from public school. We greeted each other and she asked where I was currently teaching. I told her I had recently taken a position at a private Montessori school. Her mouth formed into a pained expression and she leaned in close, “ooh, how is that? Ya know, working with those kinda kids?”
My heart started to race & the Mama Bear in me started to stir. Because I knew exactly what she meant by that question--I got different forms of it all the time. The implication behind the questions is usually that they are incapable of doing things on their own or are entitled.
I’d been through this before so I took a deep breath to tame the bear and calmly told her the truth. “Honestly... ‘those kids’ are no different than the kids I taught in public school. Some are entitled, others are not. Some are gifted, others have significant learning disabilities. Some come from wealthy families, some don’t. We have a mix of different kids, just like anywhere else.”
Unless you spent Spring Break hibernating in a cave, you've heard the hoopla surrounding the college admissions cheating scandal in which parents (including some well-known celebs) engaged in various forms of bribery in order to get their children into the top colleges they desired. Many people are shocked by how this could happen, but I'm betting most of them aren't teachers. Disappointed, yes. But not surprised.
Because a phenomenon we've seen for awhile now is what's truly at the root of this issue: some parents wanting more for their children than their children want for themselves. It's about being able to tell people that your child goes to (fill-in-the-blank) University and how that makes the parent feel rather than a genuine desire on the part of the child to do the hard work required to earn their way in authentically. Of course I don't know these people firsthand or know that this is the case--maybe these students legitimately did care about their schoolwork and worked hard but, despite their best efforts, struggled academically. In this case, resorting to bribery is obviously still wrong and reinforces the idea to the child that, if we can't get what we desire through hard work, we can get there through financial privilege and manipulation. It also models for the child a great lack of empathy for those students who have worked hard to earn their way in ethically.
I walk toward the doors of my son's classroom after a long day in my own, my shoulders tight and my soul yearning for an afternoon coffee. This is the brightest spot of any given day--that moment after walking through the doors of my son's classroom when I spot him, he spots me, and he comes running, arms wide open and joy all over his face. My tired and tense is replaced with a sudden burst of pure joy that floods my body as his 4 year-old arms wrap around my neck. We exchange hugs and kisses and I take in every detail he wants to tell me about his day as we gather his things and walk together toward the car.
The end of the workday, for most people, is a welcome relief but, for me, the ride home from school is my least favorite part of the day--not because I'm unhappy to head home and be with my family, but because this is the time of day when I'm least mentally and physically settled. I feel a little like a soda bottle that's been shaken up and sat down, struggling to transition from swirling to settling. There just seems to be so much noise--both literally and figuratively. The noise of the radio, the sounds of traffic that surround me, my son's stories now stretching into twenty-minute monologues that I'm trying my best to actively listen to.
She was my 4th grade teacher and one of my all-time favorites--a bubbly, brunette, thirty-something woman with dimples that made learning fun and always wore the cutest high heels that perfectly matched her dress. She handed out Star Student certificates every Friday, signed in perfect cursive, to students who showed good behavior and boy, did I aim to please. That was my main goal at 9 years old really--to gain friends and the teacher's favor by laying low and being good at all costs. I was conscientious, polite, and on-task ALWAYS—a model student.
Until one day, when I made an uncharacteristically bad choice: when I thought no one was looking, I took a Sharpie to the head cheerleader’s jacket.
For my teacher friends here in South Florida...can you believe it's our LAST week of summer break?!
This can be a time of mixed emotions, especially for those who are also mommas--we're excited for a new school year, to meet the new kiddos and see the smiles of the familiar ones. But working a job that requires so much time and energy, it can also be hard to part with having that extra time and space to catch up on the other areas of our life, make memories with our kids, and finish a cup of coffee in the morning ;) Because of that mix of feelings, it's easy to put off preparing to return (mentally, emotionally, and literally) and then be left scrambling, making the return feel overwhelming rather than enjoyable. And that just leaves us entering the new year on the wrong foot.
If you've been teaching long enough, you'll probably agree that a great school year doesn't happen by accident--it happens intentionally. With that in mind, I created a video to hopefully ease the transition and give you some tools to start the school year off on the right foot. Nothing fancy or formal--just sharing, from my experience, some tools & practices that have helped me (and will hopefully help you) to create your best year yet.
It's about 40 minutes long so here are some points you may want to skip to to find specific content:
2:30~What to do if you're feeling resistance about returning
14:00~How creating a visual of your vision/philosophy can serve as your anchor when the seas get rough (they will!)
16:00~Help with creating a peaceful, yet structured, classroom environment
22:30~A non-negotiable that will make your year so much easier
31:30~What authentic power looks like in the classroom & how to get more respect from your students this year
37:30~Where to find more information about the T.E.A.C.H. framework
If you've found this helpful at all, please share with a teacher-friend. Wishing you all a peaceful transition and your best school year yet!
If you're a teacher-mom like me, you know there's no sweeter feeling than the very first morning you open your eyes and realize it's summer break! When it hit me this morning a big smile spread across my face--not because I'll be away from the kiddos I love to teach or the coworkers I love to laugh with, but because summer means...
I'm Krissy & I'm so thankful you're here. Teacher-Mom life is rewarding but it's tough--we need fuel (& each other) to keep going. I hope this is a place you can go that feels like caffeine for the soul--uplifting & highly addictive ;) Check out the categories below and, if you like what you read, subscribe to make sure you always have good Sunday morning reading to go with your coffee :)