This article was written by Andy McCall. Andy is in his 9th year teaching, and does everything to honor his little girl, Penelope, who passed last year. Check him out on his Blog or on Facebook: Penelope's Path.
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This time of year, we all have our students sit around and say what they are thankful for. Maybe you have your kids write a nice paragraph transform their traced hand into a turkey with thankful notes on the feathers. Some teachers even have their kids write haikus or acrostic poems to hang out in the hall to decorate. But do you ever take time to think about what YOU are thankful for, as a teacher?
I think we can all thank the makers of wine, stress relief balls, and various medication companies for helping us maintain what's left of our sanity. I’d be even more grateful if they sponsored teachers like Nascar drivers (but we’ll save that conversation for another article). I'm truly thankful for Bored Teachers, a platform where we can all have a little fun and vent about our very serious jobs. If we can’t laugh about what we do, we all would seriously go lose our minds.
So in light of the holiday where we all sit around with the family, watch football, eat ourselves into a coma, and verbally express what we’re thankful for before the feast, I've put together this list of everything us teachers should be thankful for in life. Share yours with us in the comments. We’d love to hear them!
1. I’m thankful for the powers that I as a teacher hold.
I can change a bad day into a good one and a bad choice into a lifelong lesson. I can pop into a kid’s head when they want to make that bad choice, and seeing my “teacher face” makes them stop.
2. I’m thankful for that drawing little Anna drew of me looking like a unicorn.
In her eyes, I’m right up there with unicorns, and to know I’m at the top of her list of awesome things makes it worth it.
3. I’m thankful for PD meetings.
Nothing makes me want to be in my classroom or with my kids more than another meeting. I’m thankful they remind me of that all the time.
4. I’m thankful for that kid who called me "Dad" by mistake.
It's because I gave him a safe place, he feels comfortable that he slipped up and his face is now red. I've told him so many times, “Boy if I was your Daddy I would…” but we all know that I would hug him and take him in just like the other 1,000 kids that will forever be mine.
5. I’m thankful for the brownies in a Ziploc bag, that show up on my desk, sometimes.
All that kid wanted to do was see me smile and give them that 5 seconds of love. I’m still not going to eat them because it looked like they sampled it first, but just the thought of it warms my heart.
6. I’m thankful for the parent that calls and says, “I don’t know what to do with him.”
There are times I don’t know either, but having that trust of some of the parents with their children is something I don’t take for granted.
7. I’m thankful for the teachers around me.
Some I admire and some I don’t. Some I wish I could be more like and others I’m glad I am nothing like. It takes a village though. At the end of the day we have all played a role in a child’s life and get to do the same tomorrow. We're all in this together and for that teacher bond, we'll always be alike in some way.
8. I’m thankful for my principal.
I won’t lie, I’m just as scared sometimes when he walks into my classroom as my kids are. That doesn’t change the fact that he is behind me 100% and because of that I am a better teacher.
9. I’m thankful for special classes.
Yes, I am jealous sometimes when my kids say that they are their favorite and forget about what I do the rest of the school day, but that just means they play a big role in my kids' day and I respect that.
10. I’m thankful for “that” kid.
Usually they are the basis for things I write, but there is always more to it. They might try my patience and really get under my skin at times, but I get no greater joy than when I get through to them and they become one of my forever kids.
I could write forever about the things that make me thankful to be a teacher. I could include those good Ticonderoga pre-sharpened #2s, the parent that brings doughnuts on Thursdays, and that 100% on the test at the end of the week by the kid I was sure didn’t listen at all.
Whatever it is you’re thankful for this week, don’t let it be just that. We're sometimes called a thankless job, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Seek out ways to be happy and thankful. It might come in the form of a note from an 8-year-old or a Christmas cookie latté from a teacher friend, on a Wednesday afternoon in November. You just never know.