Dear friends getting a degree in education,
This note is for you.
Some of you reading this I may know. Some of you I may not know, but either way this message is for you.
I’ve been pondering this potential career choice for quite some time now. I’ve been head over heels about teaching and I’ve completely questioned my desires to do this overwhelmingly complex job. I understand both perspectives pretty well at this point. Not to say I don’t have a lot to learn because I’ve not actually been in a classroom for more than 2/3 days a week. But either way here’s the conclusion I’ve come to: any time I have the chance to help someone is an opportunity I’m fulfilling my purpose on this earth. And so are you.
Hallmark Assessment Tasks. Readings. Field experience/practicums. Portfolios. Midterms. Finals. Lesson Plans. Reflections. Interventions. Need I say more? You probably read each of those and rolled your eyes at the thought. I did as I wrote them. But then this list came to mind: friendships. Support. Laughter. Perspective. Knowledge. Love.
This list may be shorter but it matters. It truly does. This program would be NOTHING without the people we get to do it with. There are days when I actually would love to go drive off a cliff after thinking about everything that needs to be done. Without the love and support of my education pals, I would be utterly lost.
I had another thought thinking about this career choice. I’m obviously a little bias towards this thought, but I believe that education majors have the hardest major out there. Let me explain. The content itself may not be hard to learn, but it’s everything else that comes with it. Not only do we have know the content, but we have to be able to teach that content to students so that they understand. Then there’s the whole, “how will you differentiate instruction for students across the spectrum?” So not only do we have to KNOW the content and be able to TEACH it, we have to figure out how to teach it several different ways. Holy cow, that’s a hefty task. Now, throw in standardized tests, family situations, other personal problems, learning and behavior disabilities. We have our work cut out for us.
But behind every detail is a person. You guys, we will be influencing the young minds of our world in more ways than one. We will practically raise our students. We will spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with our students. Think about the influence we can have. That’s a weighty task and it’s not for everyone. We get to teach, love, and help our students through the years they spend in school. I don’t know about you, but that excites me more than anything in this world. Find good in every student. Find that connection with each student and develop that relationship. That’s the heart of teaching and if that still excites you, even in the midst of hardship, keep going.
For those of you beginning student teaching soon: YOU SERIOUSLY ROCK. In case no one has said it you, I’m proud of you. The foundational work is almost complete and it’s truly amazing to see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve learned.
Here’s my challenge: don’t believe the lie that the grass is greener on the other side, because honestly grass is grass and it’s the same shade on both sides. Keep doing what you’re doing. The tough stuff is here now, but it will be there later too. Don’t fool yourself that once you become a teacher, “everything will be easier”. It will come with its own problems, but when it does, remember this time. You are making it through now. You can make it through then, too.
Oh also, don’t forget to love yourself through it all. Take care of yourself. This means stop staying up until 3 am to do homework. For instance, plan out one day a week where you do nothing school related. Mine is Saturday. I plan everything around this day. Go out with friends, go shopping, read a non-school related book, sing, paint, dance. Whatever it is you love to do, do it. Your soul will be refreshed and you’ll be ready to work once you’ve rested. I know exactly what you’re thinking, “there’s so much to do though, I can’t take a whole day off.” Trust me, if you organize your schedule around that one day, it is most definitely possible. It has worked for me the past year I’ve done it. I’m thankful for it too. I need that day, desperately.
All in all. My message is this: we’re in this together. This note is for you as much as it is for me. Let’s keep pursuing this path together. IT MATTERS. STUDENTS MATTER. WE MATTER.
Love to all of you,