This summer I will celebrate my 17th year of teaching. During those 17 years, I have been a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade teacher. I served as a Title I Resource Teacher for 3rd-5th grades, and I took one year off to substitute, as a pre-school teacher while my middle child was a baby. I even enjoyed some time as an adjunct faculty college professor for Polk State College. The purpose of listing my teaching experiences is not to brag or boast my resume, but rather it’s to admit that after 17 years of teaching, I still feel like I am growing, stretching, and resurfacing as a different teacher every year. There are still those ups and downs of not feeling adequate enough…not meeting the needs of every child. There are times I get the “teacher blues.”
You know the “teacher blues.” Sometimes, you question whether or not you are a good enough teacher. Am I doing enough for every child? Why isn’t this working? How can I do this better? Why are my scores so low? Why can’t I think of creative and neat activities that are on Pinterest? Why don’t the parents understand how much I am doing for their children? Then, you find yourself comparing yourself to other teachers and wishing you could be just like them. Your feelings of inadequacy cause you not to ask for help or collaborate, because you don’t want to admit that you don’t have all the answers.
I have these “teacher blues” time to time, and I have to remind myself that when I feel this way that these are just “feelings.” Feelings are not always truth, and teachers should remind themselves that life is NOT perfect. Our students will sometimes struggle with concepts. Parents don’t always see the big picture. We don’t always have to do everything over the top like on Pinterest. Most of all, teachers are all different. I am different. I do not have the same strengths as another teacher, and that teacher won’t have the same strengths as me. If we let our “teacher blues” get the best of us, then we won’t be OUR BEST as teachers. We don’t collaborate. My students will not get the best of me if I let the “teacher blues” override me every time. Feeling inadequate takes away the confidence I need as a teacher to meet the needs of every child. It takes away the hope and idealism that I believe in as an educator.
The point is that you, as a teacher, care enough to be your best. That’s why you do question yourself. You are the person who cares about whether or not you are meeting your students’ needs. But at the end of the day, your students will remember you for being a kind, compassionate, loving soul. They will remember that you gave it your all, and that’s all we can do…give it our best. So, the next time you are feeling the “teacher blues,” just remember that: You.Are.Awesome.