To all the teachers… (especially secondary)

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August 13, 2013 by updatedhomemaker

As a former teacher, the crisp air, school supplies and the end of August turn my memories back to anticipating a new school year with fresh possibilities.  I miss it sometimes.  Here are some school year wishes for teachers, especially high school teachers, as you start the year.  I wrote this at the end of my last teaching position as a farewell to those I worked with.


To all the Secondary teachers                             from

I wish…

for you keep in your heart the reason you became a teacher in the first place. I’m sure it was a combination of things – love of the subject, working with young people, making a difference – whatever it is – hold it in your heart and let it grow and not wither through the tough times, menial tasks, and constant change.

I wish…

for every teacher to be given the respect for the tough job they walk in and do each and every day. They deserve respect from all directions – from students, from parents, from administration and from our fellow teachers. As teachers we are asked to wear an infinite amount of hats. It is impossible to be excellent in all areas – although we know we try. We all bring different strengths to the table just as much as our students do in the classroom. We are a group of individuals that if allowed to shine in our own special ways, as a group we can accomplish so much.

I wish …

for a time machine to be invented for teachers’ exclusive use. There are only so many hours in a day. The demands on our time are increasing every year. We try to do what we can, and if we could do it all, we would. We also need to have a life that allows for time to be in touch with our families, our friends and the activities that make us feel whole as a person. A whole, happy, person is what any parent should want walking into a classroom every day to be a role model for our children – not one that is worn down by their job.

I wish…

for us to continue to overcome the multitude of negative assumptions made about teachers. Contrary to those assumptions, teachers walk in each and every day intending to do their best with their students. We don’t have hidden agendas. We don’t strive to be as lazy as possible. We don’t live to make student life difficult or go on a power trip. We wish for students to become responsible, knowledgeable, thinking adults ready and able to make positive contributions to their own lives and the world. The road to becoming that person is not paved in cotton candy. It takes work, and along the way students step in potholes or breakdown, but have guides along the way. We hope that we have been one of many positive guides along that road.

I wish…

for a positive workplace that is built through support. Complimentary and authentic feedback is deeply appreciated – don’t allow these acts to become a rarity. Criticisms need to be brought directly to the person with which there is an issue. We need to build each other up. Tearing each other down is an extremely destructive force that kills trust and growth. Work together. Listen, don’t interrupt – nothing is more frustrating than feeling as if we are not being heard. Offer advice or direction to each other, but don’t look down on them because they asked for help. We all need help at one time or another. Speak with positive purpose. Be trustworthy. Value each other’s thoughts and opinions –even if you disagree. Help others understand. Every environment is filled with unwritten rules, pitfalls and invisible warning signs. Invest in each other’s success. Be a confidential and safe person to talk to when things are not going well and you will also be a person to celebrate with when things do go well.

I wish…

for the world to realize that we deal with a human element where the stakes are high, but results are not guaranteed by teachers alone. People are not a business. People are not robots. People are thinking, feeling, reactive, emotional, and capable of so much. No matter how hard we try to push students to make positive decisions, teenagers often don’t make choices with logic alone, but with other influences at play. Teaching is art. Teaching is science. Teachers are humans who create their very own combination of art and science through their very own personal style. When that magical personal combination of art and science is allowed, the teacher soars in success with their students.

I wish…

for someone to genuinely tell you thank you. We are not elementary school teachers that receive Holiday and End-of-Year gifts. High school teachers deal with a rotating door with many different students coming through every hour. It is tough to build relationships with so many and make a difference in that limited time each day. We are rarely thanked, but often judged. We hope that we make a positive difference even without the thank you. Our gift is seeing a student’s eyes light up when they finally understand or their pride in earning a great test score. Our hope is that the many skills we have taught will be remembered, especially when it will help in a step of a student’s life. As we reflect upon a school year, we often feel thankful for the things that students taught us over the course of a year – and those students that taught us the tough lessons – we will never forget your names.

But most of all, I wish…

for you to find that spark in your heart that loves to teach, let it grow into an ember and let it become a fire that drives you in the fall. As the year goes on and you get discouraged (and unfortunately it will happen), revisit that spark and feed the flame.

Printable pdf file: To all the Secondary teachers

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