Picture it: you’re a third grade teacher excited about your new job teaching third grade. You go to the teacher’s store and raid it buying everything they have related to frogs, because you’ve decided that this has to be your theme for the year. You ride excitement as you set up that room, and plan your first week’s lesson plans. You ride excitement through your first day of school as you go over your classroom rules, take students on a school tour and weather your first interruption for the school fundraiser. Then excitement butts up against a student who chooses the end of the first day of school to army crawl his way from the classroom cubbies to the front of your classroom. Bye Bye excitement.
Ready or Not
Ready or not the new school year is upon us. This realization comes with a variety of mixed feelings every year. Yet, these last few years have been a lot to say the least.
As a long time educator I have ridden the roller coaster of a myriad of emotions throughout the years. There have been school years when I have been excited and ready to go back and make an impact. There have been years when I was apathetic yet grateful to have a job. There have been years when I have flat out dreaded the start of the school year. All of those emotions are and were okay to have.
Although my emotions indicated what I was feeling and how I may have approached the start of the year, they weren’t dictators to how I showed up for my role, my students or my colleagues. My commitment was.
I’m not sure how the start of this school year is finding you. I’m not sure if you are excited, depressed, angry, apathetic or all of the above. First let me say that all of those feelings are valid and I am holding space for all educators that feel this way. Listen to them and acknowledge them. Don’t rush to move past them.
Excited Vs. Committed
Excited is defined as: having, showing, or characterized by a heightened state of energy, enthusiasm, eagerness, etc.
Committed is defined as: having made a pledge or commitment to someone or something
I think we can all agree that we would all like every year to start off feeling excited and happily expectant of the new year and the new opportunities with students and staff.
I am and work with committed and passionate educators that show up everyday and do amazing work for kids, and guess what, they are in fact not always working from a place of excitement.
Although excitement gets a lot of hype in the education world, commitment is what sticks around and gets the job done.
Commitment is what gets us up every morning even though we don’t always feel like our presence makes a difference. Commitment is what gets us to do the parts of our job that we hate so that we can get to the parts that we love.
Commitment is what says let’s try yet another strategy to meet this student where they are long after excitement has left the building.
I know that I am preaching to the choir, but I think it is important that we not start the year shoulding all over ourselves. Let’s not do that to each other or ourselves when the rest of the world is hell bent on doing that to us.
Here is what I propose we do instead. If you’re worried about your lack of excitement or enthusiasm about the school year let’s shift our focus to commitment.
What realistic commitments can you make this school year that will help you keep showing up to do the great work for kids all year long?
If you are normally a yes to everything person who often gets burned out by October, then maybe that’s an area that you can pull back and say no more in.
Are you the go to confidant on your team that is constantly pulled into campus drama? Then maybe this is an area where boundaries are in order.
Does your teacher bag travel back and forth between school and home causing you anxiety about all the things that still need to be done only to never be opened? Then maybe you could benefit from implementing some systems that would help you get things done at work so that your drive home is teacher bag free.
Maybe you’re a last minute planner that doesn’t fully know your grade level standards which makes you feel like you are spinning your wheels when it comes to instruction. Then maybe it’s time to ask your team or instructional coach for help understanding your standards so you can feel more confident in your instruction.
These are just a few examples of scenarios that are less than exciting where commitments could come in and help us stay the course.
As the school year starts and we take inventory of our own emotions, let’s remember that excitement is great, but can be a fickle friend. Let’s rely instead on making commitments that allow us to show up well for ourselves, and kids throughout the school year.
Take a moment to think about an area of work that you are not excited about. Is there a commitment that you could make that would help you show up well this school year? If you need one- on-one coaching support to help you grow as a teacher or you would like me to come and provide literacy related professional development click the link to go to www.evamireles.com and click on the work with me tab. Be sure to sign up for my Mini Lesson Revamp Bootcamp Coaching Program waitlist, you’ll be the first to know when registration opens up again.