As I’ve been working more closely with teachers in the high school, I’ve begun to appreciate the amount of time an effort they spend on their jobs outside of working hours. Again, and again I get emails from teachers well after 5 pm or during the weekend. I’d be lying if I haven’t asked myself several times if it’s worth the effort.
My main concern is that I feel like I’ll have to choose between being a great teacher and having some free time on the weekend. Dismissing the notion of a perfect lesson I think is a valuable idea to take home. I can see how easy it would be to spend hours working on a lesson, and never feeling like it’s as good as it could be. I think allotting myself a certain amount of time for work and then calling it good so that I can focus on some mental health will be key to avoiding burnout and maintaining that positive mental attitude that is crucial to being a good teacher.
Also, understanding that some people are disadvantaged but not lowering my expectations is important. Instead, focusing on guiding them to succeed by “pushing past the textbooks.’ Incorporating life lessons into the classroom when necessary and creating a culture of high achievement are stepping stones that will help any student succeed. Knowing that I care about helping all the students get an opportunity to succeed will not only cause me to be a better teacher, but also keep me motivated to continue teaching.
Putting what teachers are doing in perspective is going to be crucial to sticking with it. The amount of positive impact teachers can have on a child’s life and the future of society is huge. Recognizing that teachers can provide opportunity for marginalized students and help make it possible for them to succeed in the game of life when the odds are stacked against them is incredibly inspiring.