There is some old saying in teaching that is supposed to adhere to the beginning of the year. It goes
something like, "Never smile till Thanksgiving." I used to think that was the teacher I wanted to be. No actually that is what I thought a good teacher did.
Then this summer as I reflected back on my first year in the 9-12 setting I realized the one mistake I made is I believed that one masterful type of personality made a great teacher. You know a person that acted like THIS and responded to everything THIS way and did exactly THIS every single time. At the end of the day if he/she held "THIS" then there would be guaranteed success.
Teaching is no different than life. We are all different. We all teach different things, so to say that you have to be THIS means none of what makes a teacher a human exists. So essentially in my classroom that cuts off some of the very best parts of me. As with anything in life to be successful you have to be you. I have finally learned this.
Last year I spent most of the year trying to figure out exactly who Mommy Rhetoric the teacher was. Sure I had Mommy Rhetoric the college instructor figured out. But I had a whole new audience and a whole new work environment that I was clueless of navigating.
When people see me this year and they ask me about my school year and I happily respond back, "I love it." I mean that. I found me in the classroom. I am the emotionally invested teacher. This serves as probably my greatest asset as a teacher and also probably my weakest too. But this year I can balance them so much better.
Last year I was fearful of being too nice, but too mean. I was fearful of being too hard or too easy. I never found that balance. I never trusted in this idea that this is my God given talent. I have been a teacher, mentor and leader my whole life. My whole life prepared me for this moment.
Today we had a class get together where I could look around the room and see a roomful of students. As I am looking I noticed one thing in common with each and every one of them. That is that I could name something amazing about each and everyone of them.
This is why I am a teacher. I see the good. Yea I know the bad exists and I know sometimes they bring it to me. But I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS 100% choose the good. That is what Mommy Rhetoric the teacher brings to the party. I don't ignore the bad, I just choose to see the good.