By June Shultz
Today, with all the requirements put on teachers beyond the classroom, i.e. testing, assessments, evaluations, public relations, communications with parents/guardians, etc… How does a good teacher remain a good teacher and meet the needs of all the students in the classroom?
As a classroom teacher of many years’ experience, beginning at the high school, moving to preschool, and then to elementary and finally to middle school, I have seen teachers “burn out” with all the stress of trying to “do it all.” One of the ways that I was able to overcome the stress of not being fully appreciated by administrators and sometimes colleagues was through my association with other outstanding teachers. Read more
By Molly Leahy
“We’re closed” I announced in rapid-fire snow chain speak. My student teacher’s disbelief and disappointment rang clearly over the phone. “Again? Ok,” she sighed, reminding me of someone I used to be.
I felt like saying, “Oh you have a lot to learn about snow days.” After teaching for twenty years, I love a good snow day to catch up on bills, sleep, and some cross-country skiing. There are closets to clean, tax papers to organize, and books to read. Sometimes a snowcation energizes me by restoring work-life balance. Other times, the snow day provides additional hours to respond to students’ writing. This feeling of accomplishment or just balance allows us to return to our very demanding profession with renewed vigor.
But what happens when snow days pile up, blocking the flow and rhythm of teacher and student energy alike? Read more
By Bob Zakrzewski
Often this time of year when winter overstays its welcome, I find solace in the sun stretching each day longer, melting January and February’s icy blues and chapped pinks into March greens. And as a high school English teacher on a block schedule, facing mid-winter accompanies meeting new students, reminding me of James Baldwin’s apt observation: “Fires can’t be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men.”
Enthusiasm fuels my teaching. Years spent honing the art of organizing lessons and developing an understanding of writing, although well-spent, could not sustain me. Walking into class with a well-prepared plan and confident knowledge of the day’s literature felt great, yet, lacking enthusiasm, the lessons fell flat. Read more
by Rose Cappelli
In his book, The Energy to Teach, Donald Graves says, “We can never underestimate the energy contained in learning” (79). Since I consider myself a life-long learner, I think it is learning that is at the heart of what keeps me motivated and helps me to sustain positive energy.
In 1997 I attended my first Keystone State Reading Association Conference. I was there for only one day, but I remember trying to get to as many sessions as possible. I recall scribbling notes as fast as I could in my notebook, writing my own thoughts in the margins as to how I might apply this new learning. Sometimes it was a question, sometimes a child’s name, sometimes a star or an exclamation mark – something to show the learning I wanted to return to and apply. That first conference experience opened up a whole new world of professional development for me. Read more