Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Powerful Primary

I am proud to be a teacher and I love my job. 

I am immensely proud to be a primary teacher and I LOVE my job.

However, sometimes I wonder... "Can I handle the pressure?"

Think about that...
I can change everything!
You can change everything!
That is our superpower.

Primary teachers are reminded of this every time we meet with a new group of students. They are so moldable, so easily influenced. Often times, the students will take on our mannerisms and catchphrases. I can't count the times that my students said, "That blows my mind!" with their hands exploding near their heads (my signature move). Often times, they become little "mini-me's".

We are also  reminded of this every time we have a student whose data points aren't where they should be. We are reminded of this when we see our students desperately ask for help from home and receive none. 

However, most importantly, we are reminded of this when our students achieve far more than we ever dreamed they could. 

The pressure of this superpower is heavy. As a primary teacher, I have the opportunity to change everything about how my students see their entire school career.  I am their "make it or break it" teacher. 

My decisions can change the path of a child's life.

I'm not sure about you but that sits heavily on my shoulders everyday. I can feel it but I can't lift it off, I can't shake it. I can feel their data points. I can feel their parent's concerns. I can feel the incorrect answers and lack of understanding. I can feel my own shortcomings. 

I try my hardest to help my students and parents solve their problems, answer their questions and improve their scores. 

However, the one thing that sits heaviest of all, the one that I'm so worried I will forget... helping my students build the love of learning. 

Primary teachers are tasked with not only teaching and helping students master the standards but also the rarely talked about standards... wonder and creativity.

I hope and like to believe that everyone finds a teacher that inspires them, drives them to be better versions of themselves and teaches them the incredible life skills of wonder and creativity. Wonder and creativity are the building blocks for any successful job or passion. 

I found my inspirational teacher in high school, as many of us do. Mr. Schmink, my band director, challenged me to try new things and be a better version of myself. I have also found this inspiration in many of my teacher-friends and continue to work hard to follow my passion and become a better version of me. 

Now imagine if I would have found this inspirational teacher at the age of 5, 6 or 7.

Would I have still dreaded going to school for most of my academic career? 
Would I still have been marked as a struggling learner?
Would I still be insecure and intimidated by collegiate studies as a successful adult? 

I would like to think that I wouldn't. I would like to think that if I had an inspirational primary teacher, like the one I strive to be, that I would have become a confident and creative learner.

That is what drives me. I, and we, have the huge responsibility to help create a love of learning in each child we teach. Yes, we will teach the standards and assess our students but what good are data points if they are partnered with students who hate to come to school?

I want my students to jump out of bed, excited to come to school everyday. 

I want my students share their ideas for our learning day. 
I want my students to share their own learning with confidence and excitement. 
I want my students to light their academic fire. 

How will I do this?
I will build active learning into our day through questioning and discovery. 
I will remove the 4 walls of my classroom by helping my students connect and learn globally. 
I will make learning fun and engaging. 
I will love them.
I will trust them. 

They will know they are cared for and thought about. 

As we all begin to prepare for our new group of students, I challenge you to reflect on your teaching practices and the faces of the students in your room. 

These are the questions I will ask myself each day to help create lifelong learners. 

To help keep myself accountable and share my findings with others, I will be documenting my journey through this blog. We owe it to each other, in this challenging profession, to share our struggles and successes. That is how we learn. 

What do you want for your students in the 2015-2016 school year?


  1. Thank you for sharing. It IS a HUGE weight we carry as teachers. We touch so many lives and know we are responsible for caring deeply about our students. I appreciate your honesty in how life might be different if you had a wonderful primary teacher. However, even without having one, you are a gift to your students and make a difference every day. I will be printing out the questions in your post to help create lifelong learners and keeping it close as the new year starts. Now, let's change some lives :-)

  2. That sounds great!! You know dear I am also a Phoenix pre-k teacher and just love my job. I have also experienced all these things during my 5 years of teaching career. I am gaining more new experiences every year with new students. I always try to provide quality education to my kiddos.