Tuesday Tea Time with Claire

Truth About Givers

Inevitably, every teacher at their core is a giver. Even our roots tend to be cascaded down from a long lineage of givers. However, there seems to be an unsaid and ignored tragic flaw that we all poses that takes some form or another. To a fault, we always make more time for everyone else than ourselves. Our greatest strength also appears, at times, to be our greatest weakness. 

As teachers, we tend to struggle with setting boundaries for ourselves. We struggle not to take work home with us (physically and of course emotionally). We all love what we do. We love our students and we are willing to make time for everyone else before ourselves. As a community of teachers, we have a tendency to neglect our own needs by forgetting to make time for ourselves to just relax and enjoy life outside of teaching.

Especially at the end of the year, I know I’m guilty of ignoring my own physical and emotional needs. My body usually shuts down on me and of course, I wind up getting sick which leads me to falling behind at work and having even less time to take care of myself. Let’s face it teachers, when we aren’t at our best, we can’t teach at our best. 

Cheers to going home on time today. Cheers to not taking any work home tonight.  Cheers to doing something just for you. Cheers to finding the balance and making ourselves a priority. Take a few moments to relax and enjoy your tea. You deserve it.

Tuesday Tea Time with Claire

Reality & Repercussions of Unpredictable Moments in our Classrooms... 

Fellow teachers, let’s take a few moments and be completely honest with ourselves. We can’t control the random and insane situations we find ourselves in each and every day teaching our crazy, but oh so lovable, hooligans. We can’t control the ridiculously entertaining and sometimes frightening curiosity driven blurt outs, comments, observations, or questions our students asks us day in and day out throughout the school year. 

At the end of the day, the reality is the only thing we can control is how we react to the often times unfiltered thoughts of our students. Do we choose to...

humiliate them further? 
     allow their interruption to detract us from our lesson?
          ignore them?
                give them the time to be heard?
                     take the time to answer their questions? 
                          turn their contribution into a teachable moment? 

Life is full of unpredictable moments and chances.  Our love for teaching and our students is undeniably infinite or we wouldn’t keep on teaching. Grace under any circumstance is a reality we can choose to live by. Cheers to taking control and doing our best to handle those insanely unpredictable moments with as much grace as humanly possible. Take a few moments to relax and enjoy your tea. You deserve it.

Tuesday Tea Time with Claire

Living to Share

As teachers every word we say has an unknown expiration date. Our words make an immeasurable impact every single day and we will never be able to know how long our students will carry our words with them. We will never know what words we will say that will spark our students to feel inspired or motivated enough to lead their life down an untraveled road.  As teachers, we live to share... 

our thoughts...
     our knowledge...
          our life lessons...
               our hearts...

We dedicate our lives trying to make a positive impact in the lives of our students. I’ve come to realize I easily underestimate the potential impact of my own words. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my students are like sponges and they are constantly soaking up every word I say. They may all interpret my words in various ways and my words may impact them in different ways, but the reality is they are all impacted in some way by the words I say or don’t choose to say. That is a heavy realization to digest.  

Cheers to choosing to be a teacher and choosing to keep on living to share. Cheers to realizing and accepting our words make an impact. Cheers to always being cognitive of our words and attempting to impact our students in a positive way. Take a few moments to relax and enjoy your tea. You deserve it. 

Tuesday Tea Time with Claire

Seeking Truth From Our Students

The end of the school year offers us a somewhat nerve wracking but in reality amazing opportunity for a dose of truth. When we are completely honest with ourselves, the only people who can truly determine how effective we actually are as educators are our students. Our administrators and fellow colleagues only see glimpses of our craft of teaching and therefore their feedback is valuable, but it doesn’t provide us a full enough picture to evaluate who we are as teachers. On the other hand, our students hold a wealth of unique knowledge and insight into our teaching abilities if we are brave enough to give them the opportunity to share their thoughts. 

If we want to improve as teachers, we must choose to not just listen to our students, but really hear their often times overly accurate and honest feedback. Our students have been with us every minute throughout the entire school year. Our students see us at our best and they see us at our worst. 

The relationships we build with our students are so hard to describe to people who are not teachers. The level at which we get to know our students and the level at which they get to know us by the end of the school year is undeniably remarkable. I open up my heart and soul to my students on a daily basis. I openly confess that my students know me in a way that not even my own family and friends know me. It is such a unique relationship. 

Every person in the classroom (teacher included) has to live in a state of vulnerability. We all must be willing to take risks and be willing to fail. To be a teacher you have to be secure with who you are. We teachers make fools out of ourselves every day in the name of furthering our students education. Those moments lead to developing honest and trusting relationship with our students. To become stronger teachers, we must be willing to let go of control and allow our students to become our teachers. 

Cheers to realizing that the wise tea bag has it spot on, “Truth is everlasting”. Cheers to offering our students the opportunity to evaluate us as teachers. Cheers to learning from our students. Take a few moments to relax and enjoy your tea. You deserve it.  

Below is the link the my TPT store. Feel free to download my FREE Teacher and Student Reflection Packet. I have been using this packet for years as a tool to open the conversation to have my students evaluate me as their teacher. I have found it to be extremely helpful in attempting to improve my own teaching abilities.

TPT Teacher and Student Reflection Packet

Tuesday Tea Time with Claire

Keep Up!

It’s that time of year where we all need to make the decision do we keep up or give up? It is a daily choice we make as educators. Do we cave into the inevitable exhaustion? Do we lie to ourselves and say we haven’t given up and fake it until the end of the school year in a state of denial? Or do we muster up the seemingly nonexistent energy we have left and push through until summer? Of course none of us want to be “that teacher” that gives up or fakes it, but it is so much easier said than done. 

Over these last six to eight weeks of school, we must stay genuinely engaged for our students so that they have a glimmering hope of not slipping into the dreaded “summer vacation mode” a month too early. Let’s be honest with ourselves, if we allow our students to slip into vacation mode we will have a nightmare on our hands and we will have to exert more energy than if we would have just kept on teaching. Our students “kid radar” is always in tuned and can sense if we are not on top of our game.  Before we know it classroom management will become a colossal conundrum of pure chaos if we don't keep up. Let’s save our sanity and avoid the chaos so we don’t have to waste our summer vacation recovering from the end of the school year insanity! 

Cheers to doing ourselves a favor and choosing to listen to the wise tea bag and, “Keep up”! Cheers to being the teacher we all want to be. Cheers to not letting our students give up. Take a few moments to relax and enjoy your tea. You deserve it.  

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Tuesday Tea Time with Claire

Be Resilient & Teach Resiliency

Why not be proud of who we are? Why not be proud to say we are teachers? Why not allow ourselves to take pride in our life’s work? We so easily forget that the occupation we all choose to stick with everyday is something to be proud of. All teachers know the hard part isn’t teaching our students endless academic skills. The hardest part of teaching is the emotional role we take on caring for our students. We know all too well, it is never an easy job. While we’re at it, let’s be honest and admit it is not always an easy lifestyle to choose either. 

We can’t even pretend not take our work home. The lives some of our students lead will haunt us for a lifetime. We can’t help but to go home after a long day and worry about our students. Did they make it home safely? Are they even safe at home? Will they show up tomorrow? Will they show up with more bruises? Will they show up with more emotional scaring? Will they disappear again for weeks at a time? Will there be more teen pregnancies this year? Will they go hungry? Will they somehow get their homework done while babysitting their five younger siblings?

It is beyond devastating to me how many students feel their teachers are more supportive than their own families. It never ceases to amaze me at how resilient my students can be. Every year on the first day of school, I introduce myself to my high school students who all have various so called “disabilities” (I will get on my soap box about that subject another day). I tell them my favorite word in the entire world is resiliency. My main goal every year is to keep myself resilient in hopes of being able to model to my students how to become resilient human beings. 

Some days it is nearly impossible to see the difference we are making in our students’ lives. There are so many uncontrollable hurdles placed in front of our students and ourselves every day. We must stay resilient. We must keep teaching. We must keep being proud of what we do and who we are. We must teach our students to be proud of who they are to help them survive and become resilient human beings. 

Cheers to taking the advice of the wise tea bag, “Be proud of who you are”. Cheers to being resilient. Cheers to teaching our students to be resilient. Take a few moments to relax and enjoy your tea. You deserve it.