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Rest, Reflect, Renew

June 8, 2012

Most schools in our country are putting the final touches on the semester. Teachers are finishing grading, cleaning, packing up, saying goodbye, and eagerly heading for some relaxation, summer workshops or cleaning closets and basements. I hope you are ending your year with some time for reflection. How did the year go? Who did I influence? What do I need to do differently next year?

Many of us are tired and stressed and wondering about our role and place in education. Are we really making a difference? I shared the two quotes below as I closed the last session of a class last night. They are two of my favorites and when I am wondering about my chosen path, I read them for renewal and strength.

Over the next few weeks, may you find time to rest, reflect, and renew.

You do it because you know that’s what will make a difference, because you believe that there’s no such thing as a child that can’t learn; that every child has their own gifts, and it’s up to us to discover them — and it’s up to us to see in our children what they can’t yet see in themselves.

–President Obama honoring the 2009 National Teacher of the Year

The really good teachers are able to read a child’s story, and recognize the remarkable opportunity to help author that story. The really good teachers know how to script confidence and success onto the blank pages. They know how to edit the mistakes. And they want to help write a happy ending. Really good teachers know they have the ability to make a child happy or sad, to make a child feel confident or unsure, to make a child feel wanted or discarded. And students know when we care, when we care enough to read their stories.

–Anthony Mullen, 2009 National Teacher of the Year

The teacher is the single most important factor for learning in the classroom. It is the teacher who defines the learning experience for students. It’s about you and the teacher you become. Becoming a master teacher is a deliberate, ongoing process.

Carpenter, L.L., Fontanini, J. J., & Neiman, L. V. (2010). From surviving to thriving: Mastering the art of the elementary classroom. Dayton, OH: Lorenz Educational Press.

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