Tuesday, November 12, 2013

from your number 1 supporter, Lori

“Our teachers need a snow day. They look unusually pale. The men aren't shaving carefully and the women never remove their boots. They suffer some sort of teacherflu. Their noses drip, their eyes are rimmed with red. They come to school long enough to infect the staff room then go home sick when the sub shows up.”
 Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

If you've never read Speak by Anderson, you're missing out. It's sad and redemptive and amazing all at once. But for now, that's besides the point. The point is that the main character, Melinda Sordino, has this moment where she's incredibly tuned into her campus, and she nails the description of this time of the year. Since I read the novel years ago, this quote runs through my head repeatedly beginning in about October. By November, I think about it on a daily basis.

Teacher sickness is definitely going around my campus.

But sadly enough, there is another version of the teacherflu that strikes this time of year. Maybe we feel perfectly fine, but we carry around an overwhelming sense of frustration, anxiety, stress, and maybe (dare I say it), maybe even a sense of failure. It becomes difficult to get through a day, and you feel like the first thing out of your mouth is always a complaint. You're not alone, but I do want to send you some friendly reminders. 
  • When a person contagious, you avoid them. Treat teacherflu the same way. It's not at all mean-spirited. It's preventative.
    • If you and your best buds are symptomatic together, make a pact to say nothing negative for 30 minutes. Seriously. 
    • Do something nice for someone else. Run to the copier for a friend (or even a not so friendly "friend").
    • Take 5 minutes and read a silly poem aloud to your class just for the heck of it. I like "Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony" by Shel Silverstein.
    • Do something ridiculous. Suz and I have worn matching outfits just to see if anyone would notice. We once even staged a silent rebellion by coordinating a jean-jacket day. Those are a big no-no in our district. Make sure that you are always in compliance with district dress code policy.
    Speaking of rules, know that administration is just doing its job. It's not personal. It trickles down from the tippy top and we get caught in the melee. But administration also tends to forget that we have legitimate teacher feelings. Don't fault them for it. They're wired differently.

    So here come your warm fuzzies.
    • Your job is so important, and you are good at it. This is evidenced by the fact that you read educational blogs in your free time, ya nerd!
    • Your kids love you. They may irritate you, but you are undoubtedly special to at least one or two or ten of them.
    • And finally...research from Marzano proves that the number one factor in influencing children--in any grade level, any socio-economic situation, with any type of learner--is the classroom teacher. You're it.
    Stay healthy, friends. Christmas break is near!

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