January 6, 2018

Dear teacher friend, you are enough

As we finished our first week of the new school year and the first week back after Winter Break, I have to be honest and let you all know where my brain was at towards the end of break.

This happens every year right as I'm getting ready to head back to school (for 4 years this has happened to me!) and this year, the 4th year, as soon as it started, I realized what it was and I became determined to beat it. To stop it. To prevent it from happening, ever. again.

Here's what happens!

About the Wednesday after Christmas and before New Year's Day, when the social events have died down, the wrapping paper has been picked up, and I am in my permanent vegetative state, the thoughts of doubt start coming in...

My mind slowly returns back to my students and my classroom.

"I'm not doing enough."
"They aren't where they should be right now."
"I need to redo my entire classroom."
"I should have been more patient, more happy, more willing to let them be five."
"We should be doing more reading/writing/listening/math/science/social studies/kindness circles/recess."
"I'm not planning enough or differentiating enough for my students."
"I'm not a good teacher."
"Other teachers do (insert awesome activity/idea)"
"But Pinterest shows teachers that create this."
"I'm letting my class down."

And the worst two thoughts...
 "I'm not enough." "What am I doing here? I should find another career path."

While part of me knows these thoughts come from the side of me that wants me to always be pushing for better. How can I reach my students better? How can I help them learn at their best? How can I be better for them? I've always been driven and goal oriented, I always LOVE to do better!

But at some time, these thoughts can become self-destructive and rather than challenging myself, I am putting myself down. I am destroying the very core of who I am at my teacher being. I have to be honest with you all, because I know that I'm not the only one. I know I'm not the only teacher who feels this way/get's this way sometimes.

And I have to step back and realize that my thoughts are/were becoming destructive to who I am and who I want to be!

Like, let's be real.....I QUESTIONED if I should be a teacher?! Seriously!? I LOVE being a Kindergarten teacher, it is my dream job.

So teacher friend, I wanted to share with you words that I needed to hear myself.

Dear teacher friend, you are enough.
You come to school each day ready to greet your friends with a smile!
You plan and implement instruction in the best way you know how!
You balance a teacher life - a wife life - a mom life - a fur mama life - a church life - a friend life - a hobby life - and you are rockin' it!
You instruct your students with respect and care, the relationships you have with them will always be cherished and remembered (by both you AND them!)
The laughs, the sillies, and the times when you have to come together as a classroom family are so special and vital for you, teacher friend!
Teacher friend, your students admire you!
On the days when you don't feel good, haven't slept well, had a rough morning, started off cranky, all of the above still applies to you because you still greet your students the same, instruct them in the best way, and love on your little friends.
On the days when you aren't sure if laundry will ever be done, if Tommy will ever learn a sight word, and if you have planned the right things, you still love your students.
You love them with your whole heart!
And love supersedes the perfect lesson plan, the Pinterest perfect classroom, the classroom work until midnight each night because...

dear teacher friend, YOU are enough.

Just hearing those affirmations that I was enough changed my outlook and I entered school on January 2nd, excited to greet my little friends that I missed so much! I was at peace, I was rested, and I knew that I was doing what I felt was best and that if I saw a need for improvement and growth, I would be willing to try it! But I also know, that I can't always run myself ragged attempting to be perfect in my classroom and instruction.

As we enter the 2018 part of the school year, I hope you remember that you are enough! I hope you take time for self-care, for refreshment, for recharging. I hope you enjoy each day with your students, truly enjoy it. I hope you find joy in the funniest moments and I hope you can find comfort and care with your students when necessary. I hope your classroom family is vibrant and welcoming and exciting and caring. I truly pray that you will know you are enough.

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