In 1978 (almost 40 years ago), I walked into my very own classroom for the very first time. I felt like I knew everything and nothing all at once. But the truth is (and this is true for all new teachers), I knew a lot more than I was pretending to know. My intuition was simply waiting for words and experience and relationship to be stepping stones toward understanding and know-how. I didn’t really know what I was doing in 1978, but what I knew for sure then, is what I know for sure now: everybody is worthy of respect. Kindness is never wasted.
Here is a list of some other truths I’ve learned along the way since I began. This list has been shaped and reshaped by what I hear and see and experience. It is fluid and changing and evolving because I am still learning how to fly this thing. I love that about my life. Figuring out how to teach at the beginning was intimidating and overwhelming and scary. Figuring out how to teach now is exhilarating, enlivening, and creative. Once I was having a conversation with my step daughter, Susanna. “Everybody gets to be who they are,” she said. And as she said it, I heard those words land at bottom of the truth well with a golden ping. It is so. Or it should be so. Everybody gets to be who they are. It leads the list of My Teacher Truths.
My Teacher Truths
- Everybody gets to be who they are.
- Teaching is an act of hope and hospitality.
- What you teach first and last in a day really matters.
- To inspire others, you have to seek and be open to inspiration yourself.
- Teaching children to look at the world with the eyes of a writer is teaching them to fall in love with life.
- To teach reading and writing effectively you have to be a thoughtful reader and a writer yourself.
- Process matters and so does product.
- If you want to teach the whole child, you have to work on being a whole teacher.
- If you want to teach responsively, you have to live responsively.
- Teaching only happens when learning does.
- Stamina is taught and built.
- A teacher’s voice is an instrument that can help create harmony or dissonance.
- Reflection is renewal.
- Story connects us.
- Practice makes perfect (sense).
- Quiet is the gift that children want and cannot give themselves.
- Children feel safer with clear limits.
- A teacher’s language can encourage, empower, engage, and enchant.
- A clean desk (and classroom) is an invitation to learning.
- Manners matter (in teachers, students, and parents).
- Encouragement should be taught and spoken in every classroom (and every home).
- For teachers and students, a great day starts the night before.
- If you want to get it done, get started.
- If you want to do something big, start with something small.
- Children must feel safe enough to be transparent about what they know and don’t know.
- Planning is important, but improvisation makes a plan sing.
- Vocabulary can either limit or extend our knowledge, imagination, and possibilities.
- Excellence is Routine.
- Multitasking is the enemy of mindfulness.
- A habit can be successfully launched or broken in five days.
- Acceptance, surrender, and resolve are the handmaidens of hard truths.
- Play should be part of learning.
- Learning loves community.
Framing. Thank you.
Wow! Thank you.
Beautiful truths in beautiful words! Loved reading this.
This is fantastic. Do you sell framed copies?
Love it. Love you. Thanks for teaching students and teachers!
Sent from my iPhone