As the "first day of school" photos of friends across the country also started peppering across my Facebook feed, I ran across the following from motivational speaker Thomas C. Murray. I follow him along with many other educational leaders and organizations. In doing so, I have curated my own bit of inspirational, educational feed filled with this along with all things environment, edtech, technology, and innovation.
Along the way, I ran into this, posted by Thomas by Kelsey LaMar, which I think is the perfect send off to teachers this fall. Whether you are just beginning in schools, or returning back for your first, fifteenth, 31st year like me, or more, you are a great teacher. If you've been teyaching the last 3 years, you've been through a lot, but you've made it! You tackled a lot of challenges during the pandemic and growth as a teacher! Most importantly, you will do great things this year too!
Thank you Kelly LaMar (from her Aug 14th Facebook post), for speaking to me and to all of us! Your words mattered... a lot. May we all pass your words, and words of encouragement of our own, forward. Have a good year, my teacher friends!
"It wasn’t the text I was expecting as I pulled into the parking lot on my first day back at work. And yet, there it was.
It was short and simple. To the point. Sent to me by a principal that I haven’t worked for in over three years.
“I hope you have a wonderful year. You are an amazing teacher. Your school and your students are so lucky to have you.”
It was exactly what I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear it.
Cue the tears.
Over the next few days, friends that I’ve worked with over the years received texts also. We’re spread across the country now. Many of us haven’t worked together in years. But yet, we were remembered. We were encouraged. We were seen.
Here we were. Veteran teachers. Reduced to tears.
We joked that our old administrator was out to single-handedly end the teacher shortage and burnout.
It was a joke, but it got me thinking that maybe there was a little truth to it.
Now hear me out. I’m not saying an encouraging text will end our problems.
It won’t end low, unsustainable pay rates. It won’t end the hours and hours of unpaid work expected of us. It won’t end the overfilling classrooms. It won’t end the mental load we all carry. It won’t end the lack of resources. It won’t end the behavioral problems that worsen every year. It won’t end the classes we are required to cover during our plan time. It won’t end the lack of substitute teachers.
But maybe, just maybe, our words really are our most powerful weapon.
Maybe, weary after years of teaching on the proverbial front lines, all we needed to know was that we were doing a good job. Our work was valued.
When you enter my classroom, you’ll see notes pinned above my desk. Letters I’ve received over the years from administrators, coworkers, and parents. Little messages that remind me on the hardest days that my work is important. That my talents are recognized. That I am loved.
This text? It was a reminder that I have the power to make someone’s day. To remind them of why they love this job so much. To look at them and see the immense value that they bring to their students and schools. To speak life into their weary hearts.
So friends, today I encourage you to do the same.
When you see the beauty in a student interaction. When you see the enthusiasm brought to a lesson. When you see the grace given where it wasn’t deserved. When you see the classroom that exudes peace and joy.
Speak up. Tell them. It may be just what they needed to hear at the moment they needed to hear it.
And friend? In case you haven’t heard it in awhile, you’re an amazing teacher. Your students and your schools are lucky to have you." ~ Kelly LaMar
Kelly LaMar text from her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/talesfromtitle1/posts/pfbid02YRVptXdhAgHkY1QQJ8Pyyh58D8FXuYHUNyaAdQX5Ro4j7uFqqGiS9RfgKL1zEWysl , image created at www.canva.com using my Bitmoji.