For teachers, there is no holiday better positioned during the school year than Thanksgiving. We spend precious summer days flexing and pressing in mental cross-fit training for the coming year. Then the real fitness test begins. With ferocious intellectual muscle, organizational stamina, and some fast-twitch adjustments, we sprint head-down into the first months of the year. By Thanksgiving, we know our students well, are well along the route of the year-long marathon, and have found a good pace. For many of us, Thanksgiving day is the first day off since the first day of school. We give thanks– MANY thanks!
After so many Thanksgivings as a teacher, my basket of things for which I am thankful has grown and deepened. I share a few in honor of all my colleagues who are too tired to talk this Thanksgiving, much less write.
I give thanks…
- For my best bosses, principals, and department supervisors who never said, “No.” Instead, they asked “Why?” or “How?” — the two most important things I should think about as a teacher.
- For my top desk drawer, filled with reminders of student success and my own growth as a teacher: the sticky notes saved, a “special” pencil a student gave me, light bulb note paper, pens and ID lanyards from conferences, leftover invitations to classroom events, teacher gifts, sticker sheets with one remaining smily face, and goofy trinkets I took away from a funny student I actually loved but had to discipline. I really should Google that kid to see where he is now…
- For the teachers who always came to lunch with something positive to talk about.
- For turning off my computer and iPad — and muting my phone. I still like face to face talk best. Especially the laughing part.
- For the gym teacher who shared lunch duty with me every day– and helped me break up the fights every day. We were like a two person theatre act. I am even more grateful that duty lasted only one semester.
- For early dismissals (for snow). Yes, they forced me to completely re-plan lessons, but we are all still kids when it snows– at least the first snow each season. I am less grateful for the drives home in that snow.
- For a mother and father who were both teachers — and a grandfather as well. I would not Think Like a Teacher if it were not for them. My brother says it is in our genes.
- For a scary prof/advisor who made me teach a college Shakespeare class (90 minutes!) about a play he had acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company. After that, no lesson or audience seemed intimidating again.
- For a family that tolerates living with a teacher. They do ask me to turn it off, though, “Does everything have to be a teachable moment?!”
- For watching a niece share about becoming a teacher on Facebook. Her enthusiasm vibrates.
- For people who don’t make fun of my license plate, TCHR2GO.
- For Google. So every wonder can be followed by discovery and critical decisions about whom to believe.
- For writing a blog. So many reasons.
Happy Thanksgiving to all teachers. Enjoy the rest, and add an extra dollop of whipped cream to your pie. You made it through to Thanksgiving!