By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
It's that time of year again. The students know summer break is imminent. So do the parents. And so do you.
It's the perfect time to reflect. You could reflect on your successes with those students who grew immensely. You could dwell on the ones you wished had made more progress academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. You could count your wins or tally your losses. You could look at yourself and realize how much you gave to your professional practice this school year. You gave time, energy, money, effort, and more. You probably busted your butt. Most educators do.
This year we suggest reflecting on a topic that is not as often examined. How about looking back at what you received? Yes, what did you get this year? What was given to you?
Maybe you received an appreciative note from a parent, a piece of artwork from a student, or a few helpful words from your administrator. Perhaps you got a beautiful rose on Teacher Appreciation Day or a book of educational humor from your Secret Santa. Perhaps you received the opportunity to attend a meaningful staff development day. You probably remember those and have already counted them. But did you recall and count any of the gifts that follow?
Perhaps you received some of these:
A colleague's shoulder to lean on when you were frustrated.
A subtle smile from a student who received your feedback in a way that separated the deed from the doer.
An opportunity to hold a student accountable for his actions without wounding his spirit.
More challenging questions than predictable answers coming from students.
The courage and opportunity to step back and allow students to struggle.
Listening, given by a coworker when you really wanted to hear yourself vent.
A student asking for help when you weren't aware they required it.
Numerous opportunities to fix the problem rather than fix blame.
An idea from a colleague that helped your improving readers continue to improve.
Invitations to stand up and speak up when the administration announced there would be an increase in student testing this year.
More data that "being right" doesn't work.
Realizing that you were only one thought away from finding the peace and the calm that helped you deal with an important situation productively.
Donations of Kleenex, wipes and juice cans from parents.
Classroom situations that helped you model solution seeking instead of punishment.
A timely hug from someone who knew.
The opportunity to pass that hug on to someone else.
Helpful information from parents describing how your homework assignments negatively impact their family time.
An unspoken invitation to become part of the revolution.
You know which one.
Noticing a student increase her consciousness and become fully aware of her behavior and the effect it has on others.
The responsibility of leadership in your professional organization.
The courage to follow your intuition over intellect.
Frustration that helped you move to a new stance and attitude.
Situations that called you to speak your truth.
A ton of chances to start again today, anew.
The opportunity to see attack as a call for help.
Conditions that required you to employ flexibility.
Invitations to take actions on behalf of students.
The realization that it is all perfect.
Newsletters, encouragement and appreciation from Chick and Thomas.
This summer break, fill yourself up with thoughts of what you received this school year. Fill to overflowing. Listing, picturing, thinking and talking about what you received will help you feel abundant. It will help you stay conscious of the many gifts sent your way. Since what you concentrate on expands, you can expect more in the future. Appreciate the gifts and enjoy your summer. You deserve it.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the coauthors of The Teacher Talk Advantage: Five Voices of Effective Teaching. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for educators and another for parents. To sign up for their newsletters or learn more about the seminars they offer teachers and parents, visit their websites today: www.chickmoorman.com and www.thomashaller.com