Monday, October 27, 2014

Brave and Happy

I teach because I believe that our children should be amazingly better than their parents.  I learn because I also believe that I should be better today than I was yesterday.

Anyone that has ever chosen the path of a teacher and found themselves standing in front of a class of children, understands the need to live bravely and happily.  To many, the idea of operating bravely in a classroom is interpreted as a joke; a statement about today's unruly children and today's broken education system.  On the contrary, teachers need bravery to genuinely create learning experiences that have never been seen before.  I believe our students are smarter than ever!

 If we are to make learning authentic for our students, we must bravely breakthrough the boundaries of what has been done before and challenge the limits of what our students have previously mastered.  Bravery means to keep our expectations high, regardless of the obstacles, and doing everything possible to ensure that students meet those expectations.  Everything.  Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate says, "It is not supposed to be easy.  It is supposed to be worth it!"

Happy should be self-explanatory.  Novice teachers almost always talk about, "...seeing the light go on," as the greatest joy in the profession.  Indeed, it should be!  Anyone who loves working with children knows that joyous moments happen all day long for myriad reasons!  But oftentimes, the freshman insight fades.  Joy is killed by things such as high-stakes testing, mandatory curriculum, a new initiative, too many restrictions, and of course, "Not enough time."  The truly effective teacher doesn't let their happiness disappear due to such things.  The truly effective teacher loves their job more and more, each and every day!

Brave and Happy is my prescription for making every day in your classroom worthwhile for your students and for yourself.  I am looking forward to this journal experience and I invite your comments and questions.  Thank you!