Teaching is often a hard and challenging profession. The kids aren’t always easy, and we constantly balance the needs of the students against the requirements of the laws that bind our practice.
But we have a lot to be thankful for!
Having parents that care about you as a person can make or break a teacher’s school year.
I’ve experienced both.
I gritted through the years of combative, anxious, or rude parents and kept the mood light for the kids. But I much prefer the years that seem to float along effortlessly: with kind parents and volunteers, notes of support, honest and respectful conversations.
These years are gifts, and for them I am thankful.
Common Core and the associated programs or texts seem to change year by year, if not more frequently.
Every year comes a request for yet more data points and more analysis, but with still only the same hours in the workday and the same salary hitting our bank accounts.
E-Learning has been a lifesaver for me, and for many other teachers I know. From Khan Academy to John Green‘s YouTube Channel, from BrainPop to Discovery Education, and countless other resources, e-learning is a thing I use daily.
My students get top-notch content and, from many sites, I get built in assessments and data. Khan gives me visuals and longitudinal hard data. BrainPop provides fun quizzes that can be used as formative assessments along the way.
Without these resources, this teacher would be unbelievably frazzled and stressed out.
Since many of the people designing education laws are not, in fact, educators, often the curriculum materials created from those laws don’t include enough stuff to teach students until mastery.
Printables have saved my behind more than once. EduCents and TeachersPayTeachers are both amazing sites that provide awesome content created by teachers, for teachers. Often there are whole units for a super low cost.
I really like the freebies, the single lessons or worksheets that provide that little bit extra. My kids love the cute graphics and the fact that their teacher is less crazy.
Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!
Can I get an “Amen!” from all my elementary and middle school teachers?
Yes, these videos are from the 1990s and I watched them growing up in school, when they were still only a few years old.
But the material is the same, the delivery is engaging, and Bill Nye is hysterical! The kids think that they’re getting “out of learning” because they’re “watching a movie.”
False! This IS the lesson for the day! Plus, that theme song is catchy.
Twitter and Facebook provide endless opportunities for teachers to connect with each other and share ideas or resources. Yes, most people might use Twitter to pseudo-stalk their favorite celebs, or Facebook to keep track of their high school classmates. Teachers use these to create cyber professional learning networks. It’s clutch, since our workdays are so hyper-scheduled, to be able to get some professional development done in our PJs at home.
Target Dollar Aisle and Dollar Tree
Where else can I find hundred of items that I can use in my classroom for $3 or less per thing?
Nowhere, that’s where! Every fall both stores are fully stocked with teacher-targeted items, like bulletin board designs, workbooks, cheap classic literature, and bulk candy for our secret stash.
I don’t think I could survive teaching without these stores!
Stickers and Stamps
Need to grade a million papers by 3pm Friday, and today is Thursday?
Grab your ink pad and stamp, and get cracking!
With strategically chosen stamps, you can provide meaningful feedback to each child. For many children, even through the upper elementary grades, stickers and the chance to stick them everywhere, is a huge motivator.
I might have 4,000,000,000,000 stickers hidden around my classroom and home to prepare for the coming global sticker shortage.
It might be old school, but this handy little sliding chart allows me to accurately and correctly grade papers.
By simply sliding the inside piece until the number of questions shows in the top window, and then moving down the row to account for errors, I arrive at the student’s grade.
I’m going to lump Thanksgiving break in here, too.
By the time November hits, every teacher I know is going a little stir crazy. The kids are still riding that sugar high from Halloween, and are on the downhill slide of excitement heading into Christmas and Hanukkah.
We all need a break, and the glorious week+ around Christmas is perfect for regrouping and collecting ourselves for the long spring to Spring Break. Let’s just be honest, teachers love all of the built in days off and vacations.
It makes up for the dead sprint that we are in from September to June.
As challenging as they can sometimes be, we would do anything for our students. We celebrate their successes in and out of the classroom. We cheer for them, challenge them, and want them to succeed to their highest potential always. We love them dearly, and we wouldn’t have a career without them.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?