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I'm a better teacher because of you.

This Teacher Appreciation Month, I am grateful to my teacher colleagues who, unknowingly, taught me how to be a better teacher.

The first week of my 1st year teaching was not exactly like the “Stand and Deliver” movie moment that had inspired me to be a teacher. 


Day 1, enthusiastic but overwhelmingly naive, I thought I'd hook my reluctant middle schoolers with a drama movement game that would bond us for life. "Everyone!  Get up, form two circles, and answer this question with your partner!” 


My  6th grade class took that to mean run around and do whatever you want. 


My 7th graders awkwardly wandered the room, avoiding each other. 


And my 8th grade class just sat and stared at me like, “You want me to what? I don't think so.”



It was a cold plunge-pool moment for me: 

Teaching is hard and I needed to learn.



The days and weeks that followed, I closely watched my experienced colleagues.


I saw these outstanding teachers engage their students and tap into what motivates them. I saw how they greeted students at the door and treated every child with dignity. I observed how they masterfully provided the right balance of structure and safety with autonomy and stretch.


♡ I took it all in.


As teachers, they had hard days, too. Many of our students experienced extreme poverty, trauma, and had significant skill gaps in their learning. Resources were scarce. Photocopy machines seemed to always be broken. 


And yet… 


I saw their resilience. True grace under high pressure. They maintained high-expectations of their students and taught with joy.


♡ I took it all in.

We know teachers have an impact on students, but they also have an impact on their colleagues. Thank you to the teachers who made me a better teacher!

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