On becoming a teacher

Kevin had a great answer to the question, “should I become a teacher?

Yes, if your passion is to change the lives of young people one day at a time and if you’re willing to see the results of your daily work only years into the future, then yes, you should become a teacher.
But don’t do it for yourself. Do it for that lonely child whose family is in shambles and your classroom is the only safe place to be. They may not show the appreciation now, and maybe won’t show it ever, but you could be the most important anchor in their lives. Do it for the gifted child who is bored and needs someone thoughtful to pull and push them in new directions. Do it for the kid who always pays attention and does their hardest, no matter what you ask of them. Do it for the ones who resist you at every turn. They all need you.
Yes, become a teacher. It won’t make you financial rich like your Wall Street friends, but being a teacher will allow you to sleep at night, knowing you are making a real difference in the world (unless you are wide awake, wondering about tomorrow’s lesson plans)


I became a teacher because I wanted to make sure every kid had a chance to learn how to read. I’ve stayed a teacher for many more reasons but mainly because I still want every kid to have an equal chance at being their best selves.


farmers and teachers

From Dea Conrad-Curry at Notions and Potions in Thinking deeply about the seeds we plant:

…I was thinking of how farmers and teachers are alike. They both are responsible to nurture valuable commodities. Their work is both science and art. They both possess intrinsic passion, returning day in and day out to work over which they have limited control, facing the vicissitudes of nature: mother nature and human nature. And they are both being moved to change by the combined forces of technology and science.

Planting corn along a river in northeastern Tennessee (LOC)

Telramen op de bank in de klas / Counting-frames in classroom

I quoted this yesterday in a short post about recent blog discoveries and I find myself going back to read that quote over and over again. There is definitely something about it that strikes a chord within me. There is a notion of stability, of consistency, of basic humanity in both farming and teaching. Yet, within these stable qualities, there is a necessity for change, for constant, continual change.

I think it is the tension between those states – stability and change – that makes these passionate professions. You need passion to nurture and to live what Dea writes about.

As I wrote in the comment box on Dea’s blog – she helped me to see why I feel so right living out here in farm country.

June in a sentence

My twitter feed tells me that some of us have finished teaching for the year, some of us have not only finished teaching but are on summer break already, and some of us are still out there.

Teaching in June. What a situation to be in. It happens every year and each year it is just as challenging to keep things exciting, to keep the bar high for my kids and myself. Well, come to think of it, it usually isn’t as challenging as this year.

This year I have an extra added bonus kind of challenge. You see, I haven’t done much June teaching at all in the past 9 years or so. I’ve been a high school teacher and the June teaching time is usually only a few days long before ‘the exam period’ starts (raising some … tension … when I’ve worked in schools that housed both elementary and high schools).

On June 1st, 3 days before I was scheduled to stop teaching for the year, I accepted a position as an elementary school teacher until June 30th – placing me smack back into June teaching mode! As the new teacher, no less! So my challenge is getting oriented AND keeping things interesting and relevant for the kids. One of my grade 6 students asked me why we were doing a certain activity – what was the point. Yikes. The point was that I was focusing on classroom management in that class (34 kids! I’m their 3rd French teacher this year. They are testing me big time!) and I just needed them to sit at their seats and focus on a piece of paper in front of them and, really, writing a summary of a play that we are (trying:) to complete by the end of the year is not such a bad thing either. But the thing is – she didn’t see why we were doing it. I need to work on relevancy.

So, how are you holding up this June? Any reflections on what you want to work on, what you want to leave behind, what keeps you excited about teaching at the end of the year?

Here’s my reflection, what I want to keep in mind for the rest of this year and the years to come. My June in a sentence:

Keeping it real and relevant while having fun, smiling, laughing, and making connections.

ps – as always, comments will be held in moderation until next Sunday.

Reality check re: time

We have 52 teaching days left this year before the evaluation period. And that includes the 2 weeks my grade 11s will spend away from school on stage.

Holy crapola.

52 days to accomplish the world!

Luckily spring seems to have come early this year. I just witnessed a MOSQUITO flying up the wall in my living room! In March. In Eastern Ontario. Maybe the warm weather will make the balance of the year seem to go on forever. I feel I have so much work to do with my kids, as if we are just beginning. Some of them have achieved so much this year.

They amaze me every day,

the very best teachers…

Just saw this tweet. Felt the need to record it.

The very best teachers spend every day of their lives ignoring or subverting the curriculum

via @paulawhite, via @Neilstephenson, via @kmadolf, via @alfiekohn or something like that…