Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Love Never Gives Up.

A few weeks ago as I laid in bed after an extremely long, discouraging week of school, I opened the Facebook app on my phone to write a short, two-sentence status that quickly turned into a novel:

Every word of this is true. Every word. Especially the part at the end about Christmas break, but that's over now. (RIP Christmas break...see you next year).

I cannot emphasize enough how hard this job is. I've said it before and I will probably say it 100 more times this year. Not gonna lie. I don't want to mislead any potential future teachers by saying this is an easy job. It is not and you need to know what you are getting yourself into.

BUT. It is THE BEST JOB. Period. (Keep reading, I'm getting to that part.)

I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to be the perfect teacher. Before I ever even got hired I felt like I had something to prove. I still do. But the truth is, as long as you're shooting for perfect, you're going to end up disappointed.

This whole first semester I've pretty much been eating, sleeping, breathing, and drinking teaching. Lesson plans, classroom management, training, professional development, cleaning up my classroom (because I'm OCD and 5 year olds DO NOT KNOW HOW TO CLEAN), seating charts (impossible), making copies, building relationships with students, communicating with parents, shopping for supplies, meetings...the list goes on.

Pretty much from the moment I woke up in the morning until the moment I went to bed at night (and sometimes even in my dreams) I was in teacher mode. Including on weekends and breaks. Even Thanksgiving break.

I thought all of this would help me become a better teacher but that couldn't be further from the truth.

I was so busy trying to be a perfect teacher that I lost sight of everything else. I wasn't doing anything for myself. That sounds really selfish but...sometimes you just have to take some time for yourself.

I burned myself out. I've never worked harder at anything in my life and that actually worked more against me than toward me.

When I finally figured this out two weeks before the break, I stopped doing it. And oh my gosh it made the hugest difference. I was way less stressed out and actually became more productive. I don't understand how that works but it does.

So I'm going into this semester and I'm not working hard at all.


I will still be working hard. I'm just going to make sure to allow time for the other things that bring me joy in my life. Like baking. Or blogging. Or spending time with God. And friends. And family. Because those things are important, too.

Anyway, all that to say, this first semester I had a really hard time remembering why I'm a teacher. And there will probably be times this coming semester that I will, too. And there will be days I want to give up. And that is why I currently have this as my desktop wallpaper:

Well that, and the pretty colors.

I came across this a couple months ago and immediately downloaded it. It is the absolute best reminder that I can't quit. 

I love my students. I love each and every single one of them. Even on the bad days, they are my kids. MY kids. And I love them.

Sometimes I think about the fact that they won't be my students anymore next year and then I get really sad because I don't want another class. I want this one. Forever. (Though at the same time, I wouldn't say no to a really quiet class of perfect little angels.)

I love these kids and I can't give up on them. I love teaching and I can't give up on it. 1 Corinthians 13 says so!

Teaching is the absolute hardest thing I have ever done. But it is also the absolute best thing I've ever done. I honestly can't imagine my life without my 14 little friends in it. And seeing them succeeding, learning, and gaining more confidence makes it all worth it.

I'm not a perfect teacher. And I probably never will be. But you know what? That's okay.

I don't have to be perfect to make a difference. I don't have to be perfect to show a child that they can do something they never imagined they could. I don't have to be perfect to love.

I just have to do my best and not give up. That is all I can do. It doesn't seem like much, but I know that if I can do that, God will take care of the rest.

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