Winter Blues

You have probably heard it before. A colleague walks around, coffee cup in hand, and says something like, “Only ninety-three more school days to go.” Sometimes it is said in jest; other times, it is said with exasperation. I have laughed it off, ignored it, or maybe even made believe I did not hear it; unfortunately, this attitude is self-defeating and sets up teachers and students for a climate of negativity.

All educators have good and bad days, just like people in any other profession. Unlike office workers or account executives, teachers and school administrators are really not able to let it be known they are having bad days. If they gripe to one another, it feeds into a monster that doth mock the meat it feeds upon. If their superiors hear about, it could cause problems in the present or in terms of future teaching assignments. Worst of all, if students even get a hint of the teacher’s sarcasm or angst or despair, they will spread the word and a good deal of mischief will follow.

In the days after the holiday season, it is easy for everyone to feel a little depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a serious condition experienced by people who otherwise have normal mental stability. This is a real condition and, according to the Mayo Clinic, it needs to be dealt with. “Treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications. Addressing the problem can help you keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.”

Of course, some teachers come back from the holidays and see the daunting six months ahead of them and get down. The days are short and most of us get up in darkness and return home in darkness. In many parts of the country, the weather is cold and snowy and an austere feeling descends over people. We stay indoors, we huddle under blankets, and we come to understand why bears hibernate.

Teachers cannot allow themselves to fall into this trap. They need to find a way to get some help if they need it because this kind of feeling certainly can be affecting their students as well. Educators cannot feed into the doom and gloom but must find a way to forge ahead, looking at the big picture instead of the little things that can get us down.

When I was a new teacher, I learned from a veteran that I had to come back in January and be more on my game than ever before. There were big things at stake then like EOC exams. The teacher always sets the tone in the classroom; the principal and assistant principals do so for the entire building. The attitude should be business as usual and let’s get to business right away.

At this point in the year, as we turn the first page of the 2019 calendar and walk slowly into February, we have basically come to the halfway point of the school year. Five months have passed, and there are five months to go. Instead of wallowing in a day counting mode that only makes the time go more slowly, why not revel in the season and use it to your advantage?

As educators, each day is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference. We can never take for granted the truly sacred torch that has been passed to us, and we should never do anything personally to douse that flame of learning in our classrooms. We must be passionate about teaching and excited about bringing knowledge to our students, whether it’s a dark, cold winter’s day or a bright sunny one in spring.

If you do have some sort of seasonal depression, find ways to get help with it. There are many resources available. As you do things to alleviate your feelings of despair, try to do everything possible not to let your anxiety become apparent in the classroom. Think back to why you first entered the teaching profession. You most probably did it with extremely noble intentions.

Get back in touch with that vibrancy that filled your heart with joy on the first day of your teaching career, when you walked into your classroom and felt like you could take on the world. Remember that in essence the world is in the hands of educators, for we touch the lives of our students not for just a moment but for the rest of their lives. Every word we say counts; every gesture is observed and measured; every outburst is never forgotten, as is every kindness.

Teaching should not be an easy job. In fact, it should be the most strenuous work around. When I was first teaching, I used to go home and feel exhausted because I put so much into my lessons and classes. The good teacher knows that no dust settles on his or her feet; there is no time for rest during the day because every second, yes every second counts.

When you are well prepared and have lesson plans that cover every minute of class and ten to fifteen extra minutes just in case, your students will always be engaged and have no time to feel depressed. They will look up from their work and see your vibrancy, your love of the subject matter, and that is infectious. If you are moping around with a cup of coffee and whining about the cold, the snow, and the commute to work, students will take your lead and learning will be affected.

I hope that you go into work each day and never fall into counting the days, but instead remember that what you are doing counts. It matters today and every day for the rest of your students’ lives. If that is not enough to brighten your day, I don’t know what is.

-Victor Lana

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21 Reasons to Contact Us

Okay, that was a pretty catchy title…right? We’re not going to actually spell out 21 reasons why you should contact us (although we could), we just wanted to put emphasis on the importance of the number “21”.

Did you know that if you scored a 21 on the ACT, you could be eligible for a teaching certificate?

Wanna talk about it? Give us a ring or drop us a DM on one of our social media accounts. We can’t wait to hear from you:)

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What’s All the Talk About?

I remember my very first teaching job. After graduating college in May, and unexpectedly passing the Praxis I exam (without any preparation), I was offered a provisional license and a job teaching 9th grade ELA.

I spent the entire summer reading through the massive literature textbook, trying to desperately digest everything from Harry Wong’s “First Days of School”, and finding cool activities online. In my mind, that was the extent of what I needed in order to be successful for the first couple of weeks of school. I practiced my “teacher face” and made sure I spent a hefty amount of money on teacher clothes.

After the first couple of weeks of school, I knew I was nowhere near ready to teach anybody’s child, but what’s a girl to do? I remember listening to the veteran teachers during our PD sessions and faculty meetings and feeling like I’d never get to their level. My shyness wouldn’t let me ask for help. Some of them treated me like I felt; inexperienced and unqualified.

During that time, there were no PLNs (Personal Learning Networks). There were no effective PLCs. There were no real collaborative efforts that would support my growth as a new teacher. I felt stuck, I felt miserable, and I wanted to quit by November.

When we sat and thought about things we wanted to put in place for our novice teachers, we immediately thought of ways our teachers could learn from the best of the best, in a self-paced, non-judgmental way. We wanted transparency. We wanted raw. And we wanted it to be like a conversation with your best bud. We also wanted to think about our walk as a new teacher and what we felt we needed during those dark days.

#TeacherTalkTuesday is our modern take on having candid dialogues with the teachers you secretly envy. You know, the ones who have the well managed classes. The ones who have high proficiency levels. The ones who have positive professional relationships with their colleagues, the parents, and the students. The ones who are walking Pinterest boards. The ones who do it all with such ease.

It is our hope that you learn that all of the great professionals started out just like you…a beginner. They have used their experiences and mistakes to learn a more efficient way of doing things. None of them knew exactly what they were doing when they started out. You will hear that in their personal stories and in the advice they offer to you.

Pour a glass of your favorite summer beverage, pop in your earbuds, sit back and enjoy our #TeacherTalkTuesday series. Be sure to like and share!

Michael’s Story

Micheal

My parents were immigrants. They saved every nickel and dime to relocate to the United States so that my siblings and I could have a better life.

All of my brothers and sisters are surgeons. I am the Lone Ranger. I never wanted to practice medicine. I’ll tell you why. I was a problem child growing up. Adjusting to our new way of life didn’t gel with me and I was sad that we had left so many loved ones behind. I acted out in school. My behavior and lack of discipline caused me to fail the third grade.

And then I met Mr. Walker. He was a teacher that looked like me and identified with my heartache. He saw me beyond the referrals. He served as my mentor and helped me get on track. I graduated top ten in my graduating class and went on to a prestigious university.

In May, I’ll be graduating with a 4.0 in Biology. I’m not your typical success story. I took the long way to achievement. Everyone counted me out. I want to use my life to see through other little boys who feel lost. #ImMichael #SH21 #Schoolhouse21 #Teach21#IdealCandidateStory #PiecesofYou

Amber’s Story

Amber

My parents taught me and my sisters the value of hard work at a young age. My mother has been a baker for the last thirty years. She started baking in her kitchen, and that turned into a side hustle that brought in more money than her full-time gig. Eventually my parents opened up a small bakery in our hometown. That was our after school job. That was our weekend job. That was our summer job.

didn’t know how to bake bread, I didn’t know how to make dough. I didn’t know how to ice cakes properly. I didn’t know how to use fondue. The greatest gift my mom gave me was the gift of curiosity. She challenged me to learn these things on my own.

As a student teacher I’m learning that the gift of curiosity will take me a long way in the teaching field. You have to be intrigued enough to find things out on your own. As a new teacher, we’ll get a lot of training, but it’s also going to take grit, determination, and the ability to always want to learn how to do the job better. Because it is one of the most important jobs we’ll ever have.

#ImAmber #SH21 #Schoolhouse21 #Teach21#Teach21Yearbook

Lindsey’s Story

Lindsey

I was born to be a teacher. I can tell you my story, and what lead me to this point, but the truth is, there are some people who were just born to be teachers, and I’m one of them.

Of course I was the kid who played school with my barbies and my stuffed animals. I was the kid who asked for crayons for Christmas instead of video games. I was the kid who spent summer vacations snuggled with up a good book instead of playing outside.

When I was about eight years old, I recall wanting a life size barbie REALLY bad. My parents told absolutely not. My birthday and Christmas had come and gone; therefore, my parents couldn’t justify shelling out that much money for a “want”.
Stubbornness and determination took over. The following weekend, I set up a lemonade stand and earned half of what the doll cost. A lightbulb went off.

I wasn’t great at math, but when I started applying math concepts to real life situations, everything just made sense to me. And I’ve carried that with me. That’s my teaching style. I create project-based activities and loop in the mathematics. My students aren’t just learning how to do math, they’re learning how to do life.

#ImLindsey #SH21 #Schoolhouse21 #Teach21#Teach21Yearbook

Sam’s Story

sam

I’m probably the most positive person on earth. I would say that acting from a place of positive intent has helped me be a better teacher. I don’t automatically assume that students chose not to do the right thing. Teaching from a place of positive intention helps me seek to understand students instead of labeling them based on my own thoughts, beliefs, and past experiences.

#ImSam #Teach21 #Teach21Yearbook#Schoolhouse21