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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Bring it: The most important thing a teacher can bring to school



My air conditioner has been broken all this week. They have ordered a part but we’re not sure if it is going to be here before school starts. If it is not, I’ll teach class on the stage rather than risk the computers expiring in the heat and have kids sweat because of the heat.

Sometimes things stink as we prepare for school.

This is less than ideal. OK. I’ll admit it - IT STINKS. Honestly, I stink too.

But stinky stuff happens. It just does. I’m in gnat central here and it is 90 something outside and I’m opening my door to my room to cool it off. I’m wearing workout clothes that shed heat so I can sweat with as little soak as possible.

And then IT happened…

My laptop died today - perhaps heat induced. Not sure.

I connected the hard drive - threw everything in Dropbox and am letting it sync. Dropbox has saved me again.

When everyone has done all they can, you can still choose what you can

Yet. My students will be here Thursday. We’ve got lots to cover.

Whether my first day is in my computer lab – out back – or in the outhouse - these kids have me and I’m bigger than this. My principal has done all he can do and everyone is doing what they can. What I can do is not add a sour attitude to an already heated situation. There’s nothing I can do but that.

Problems are the canvas upon which I will paint a picture of a person who overcomes.

Maybe that picture will inspire others to do the same. Maybe it will even help someone out there going through something. If so, this problem won’t be wasted.

How about you and your problems? The worse the problems, the more dramatic the picture you paint.

We just have to make do with what we have.

Sometimes what we have is all we have… but a determination to do well and be amazing is all we need to get started.

You can put a person with a stinky attitude in a million dollar computer lab and not get peanuts out of the students.

You can put a champion with a determination to teach in a computer lab that cost peanuts and get a million dollar learning experience out of those students.

It depends on what you bring. Are you bringing it?

WE NEED MONEY. I’m not saying we don’t. I’m not making excuses for those who refuse to invest in our future.

But when it is time for school to start and things don’t go just right - if I let it influence my relationship or attitude towards my students one teeny tiny bit - then I’m not bringing my best.

I’ve got to bring my good attitude if I hope to get students to the altitude they can achieve with me.

So… laptop or not… lab or not…I’m going to put on some clinical strength Secret Deodorant and lace up my tennis shoes… as long as I have me and my students somewhere on this campus – I’ve got enough to get us started.

I’m bringing it. I’m bringing me.

I’m bringing the only essential ingredient besides a firm grasp of content knowledge, pedagogy, and presentation finesse.** I’m bringing me and my determination to be an excellent teacher anyway.

I’m bringing it. I’m bringing me.

You’ll rust before situations are ideal . They never are. They never will be.

I’m bringing it. I’m bringing me.

If your good attitude is dependent upon perfect situations then you’ll always have a bad one. I reject my human inclination to be crabby when things go wrong. I want to be more. These kids deserve it. Plus, I’ve got something FANTASTIC planned.

I’m bringing it. I’m bringing me.

There’s nothing exceptional about a person who’s cranky when their computer breaks and they are sweating profusely. There is something exceptional about a person who makes do and looks up.

I’m bringing it. I’m bringing me.

Kids and adults alike awe at exceptional. When you have awful problems – you have the opportunity to make people full of awe as they watch you overcome.

They will expect me to bellyache when we meet on the stage Thursday if that A/C isn’t fixed. But I’m not - I’m going to wow them and make the most of that stage. IT isn’t going to be AW-ful it is going to be AWESOME! Oh yeah. I’m going to rock it. I’ve already got it planned. I’m going to use that stage and they are going to be amazed and never forget the first day of school this year.

I’m going to bring it

I’ll wear my workout clothes again tomorrow and sweat like an oldie for my last day of preplanning, but I’m going to hit this school year. I’m glad to be here. These are my students. I love them. I’m going to bring it… I’m going to bring what counts and that is me and nothing is going to stop me from teaching. Nothing.

I’m bringing it. I’m bringing me.

I’m not Polyanna. To be honest, I will admit to you that this attitude would not be possible without my time each morning on my knees taking these problems to Upper Management. But I also have to know that I am at the center of my Att-I-tude.

If my attitude stinks, it is my fault. No one can MAKE me have a bad day - in all but the most horrific circumstances - I can choose to have a bad day but no one can MAKE me have one but myself.

This is a pep talk for me just as much as you… and right now I’m feeling better because I can see what my students see when they see a teacher who is able to make awesome out of awful. They see how to make it in a life full of problems. Because that’s what we’ve got down here… problems and lots of them. Welcome to planet earth.

So, I ask you…

Will you bring it?

Will you bring you?

Will you share your story?

Do you have any similar stories for beginning the school year and how did you overcome?

Other teachers need to hear your stories. We need each other… now more than ever. Teachers are the media that will turn the tide of stories about our profession. We are media now and we will not be quiet about what it is like to teach and the importance of our profession. We will inspire. We will encourage. We will be open. We will be the kind of teacher we want who will transform the profession we love.

You’re noble teacher. I’ll try to be noble too. Bring it!

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