Professional Writerly Life

in the right place

I was sitting talking with a trusted friend over break, when she asked me, “Could you write a blog about that?”

I looked back in horror, “On happy teacher?”

We were complaining, well maybe we were just dreaming of things being better. We were talking of teacher burnout at seven years into our profession. No teacher should be burned out at seven years in, especially not the best (and believe me this friend of mine is the best). Yet, somehow we were both tired. Tired of small classrooms and crazy climate swings within them. Tired of pouring our salary directly back into our classroom. Tired of . . . well we went on.

But, then the conversation shifted. Is it worth it? No, it’s not. Are we crazy? Yes, we are.

Yet for both of us, somehow we recalled small, gentle, yet boldly visible moments that push us out of the burnout and into the fire that we’ve had since before we went to college.

A girl writes about her identity, who she is and what she needs to change to be who she wants to be.

A mother communicates with her son for the first time on a level that crushes the past and opens doors to the future.

A child reads their first book cover to cover and begs for more.

Or even, the moment in the middle of a lesson when you look like a complete fool and you’re sweating and singing and cheering on the kids— and you look around and realize the whole room is captivated, the whole room is learning, every kid is exactly where they are supposed to be and so are you.

Sure as teachers we need to be careful of burnout and burnout conversations that lead to nowhere. Mostly though, we need to be careful to seek out the fire and fight to live there, because if your day/week/month contains even one of those fire moments, you’re in the right place and you know it.


6 replies on “in the right place”

It’s true that what you talk about is what happens. If you talk about those fire moments, they multiply. If you crab about all that isn’t right yet, it multiplies your crabbiness and everyone elses. Here’s a fire moment I had last week: I put Joe’s(made up) dialogue piece on the smartboard and read it out loud with all the voice that was buried in it’s simple words then I commented on how well it communicated the feelings of the characters even though it was short.(Joe’s writing is always short-really short). Well not anymore- now suddenly, almost immediately after that smartboard day, there are whole paragraphs showing up on his computer and I wonder where have all those words been all year? Locked up waiting for a compliment to set them free. Ya- fuel for the fire of my teacher’s heart!

I think I learned my happy teacher heart from you. I know I learned my teacher kid love from you. Best. Mom. Ever.

Just checked out your blog courtesy of ESL-Ellen. (I teach fourth grade in the same district as you.) I’ve been blogging for years and enjoy meeting new bloggers with similar interests. (this is sounding like a personal ad, no?? ) Except my blog isn’t about teaching at all…it’s kind of my escape.

Now, onto the nitty gritty:
I, too, am in my seventh year of teaching. I have the same thoughts as you and your friend. With all that is expected from administration, parents and even students, sometimes I wonder if I’m actually “living the dream.” I hear ya, sistah! You’re not alone!

Thanks for checking out the blog, and hang in there—we are living the dream, even when we can’t see it.

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