As I prepare to go back to school tonight after my wonderful winter break, I am trying to remember to put first things first. I remembered this letter I wrote last year to my Facebook friends, and I think I need this reminder again.
Dear teacher friends who may or may not be dreading the return to work tomorrow like I am,
Let’s make a new resolution for the year. Let’s resolve to get our priorities straight. Let’s care for our families and ourselves more than we care about our classrooms. That doesn’t mean we slack at work, it just means we stop keeping up with the Pinterest Joneses of the education world and focus on our priorities. We are no good to the lovelies we teach and love if we aren’t good to the ones we love the most (that should include loving yourself!) Leave on time and go home to make dinner (then peek your head in my room to tell me to do the same.) Let us also remember our priorities as a teacher. You were not called to this great profession to make sure each of your charges makes a year or more growth. You were not called to teach to ensure that all children hit a benchmark by a certain timeframe. You were not called to teach children how to take a test. You were certainly not called to teach so you could sit in meetings discussing the next government promoted educational buzz word and how to make it happen in your classroom when you already know what needs to be done you just aren’t allowed to or don’t have time to do it anymore.
You were called first to make a connection with children. To learn what makes their little and big hearts feel passion and fire to do and be more. You were called to encourage and love the ones who come to school each day looking for you to prove to them that adults can be trusted and can show love. You were called to show our future leaders how to treat people better with your example not your lectures. You were called to speak into the lives of INDIVIDUALS not the next number on the common core conveyor belt pumping out “college ready” kindergarteners.
Our students are not data. They are not lines on a graph predicting their successes or failures because of a test. They are human beings who need to feel loved, appreciated, respected and understood before you try to make them understand.
Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Resolve to teach hearts and not tests. Resolve to show more love and fewer fractions. Resolve to make a difference like you said you would when you left college. That is what will get at the common core of each heart in our classrooms every day. And don’t forget to go home early to make dinner and love on your own family first. Amazon Prime will get those googly eyes to you in 2 days, so rewrite your plans to do that art project next week!
If you are an educator, resolve to put first things first for the rest of the school year. Let 2017 be the year you get back to the heart of education.
Keep making your house a loved filled home. Life is good. Teaching is great!
High five for home!