If you looked at my resume, you’d see that I’ve been an educator for 14 years. But really, I’ve been a teacher since my little sister was born. She wanted a playmate and I wanted a student, so playing school was a win-win situation. Teaching has always set my soul on fire.
My 10th year of teaching though, almost broke my spirit. It was my third year teaching 5th grade at a challenging Title One school. The students in my class that year came to me already burdened by traumatic events and they were dealing with life’s adversity as best they could. When they made disrespectful comments, broke rules, and pushed boundaries, I knew they were screaming out for structure and love. As their teacher, it was up to me to provide them with a safe and loving environment they could count on.
But I’m human. I have feelings. I'm tenderhearted. When I spent hours planning lessons only to be met with disruptions and groans, I felt hurt. I didn't know what I was doing wrong. I reached out for support from anyone who would watch me teach and give me advice. I was told over and over that I was doing good work, that I was a saint, and those kids were lucky to have me.
Meanwhile, I sobbed at home, beat myself up for not being "better," and then got up in the morning, ready to go back into battle to serve those kids who probably needed me more than I'd ever know. Every morning, I stood at the door of my classroom and welcomed those students into my room with compassion and a cheerful “I’m so glad you’re here!” I sought out every strategy I could find to help me stay positive and mindful.
The work of a teacher requires grit, extreme compassion, and serious emotional resilience. To teach is to choose a life of service. And it’s not an easy life. These are the strategies I used to help me survive year 10 and they're how I continue to strengthen my emotional resiliency as I serve new groups of students and teachers.
We rise by lifting others up! I created these cards to help lift you up! Use them to empower yourself and remember that you are stronger than you think. When you doubt yourself, let these cards help you change your mind!
On behalf of your students, I want to thank you for all you do! You’re doing good work and your students are lucky to have you!
Want to see me teach? Here I am in action:
Want to know a little bit more about me? Ok!
- I taught 4th grade Spanish Immersion for 7 years.
- I taught 5th grade at a Title One school for 3 years.
- I served as an Instructional Mentor (a teacher coach for 1st and 2nd year teachers) for 2 years.
- Currently, I serve as a Dual Language ELL Facilitator at a Title One school.
- I earned my National Board Certification (Middle Childhood Generalist) in 2008 and just recently completed my NBCT renewal.
- I got my ELL endorsement in 2015 because supporting and advocating for language learners is my passion.