Before the first day school I always felt like my room was the empty canvas. One year it really was – I got to choose my classroom and the furniture.  I believe environment is extremely important no matter what grade you teach, so I spent many days thinking, planning, and creating room arrangement, decorations, and organization.  Some years when I changed schools or classrooms, I worked myself into exhaustion before school began because I always had lots of STUFF.

Blank slate

The year of the Secret Garden

A Beach Year

If your’e still painting or cutting out bulletin boards, and time is growing short, or if you’re sitting in another staff development meeting about the new or newest standards or curriculum, take some time to think about your priorities.

Let’s paint all our doors purple since we are the Purple Team!

I believe that Priority #1 is NOT

  • Standards
  • Test scores
  • Curriculum
  • Strategies

None of these matter if you don’t first teach CHILDREN.  And they are all children – of all ages, developing at their own rate and coming to you with their individual points of view, home life, culture, and beliefs about learning and school.

Don’t know if it’s true across the nation, but teachers in Tennessee are expected to do more with standards and test scores, teach more students in smaller spaces, be evaluated more often according to one person’s opinion while using data that frequently has nothing to do with their subject or job.  Somehow the teachers became the problem in the Race to the Top.

I pray for teachers:

  • whose bag of tricks is nearly flat because you just came from a college classroom.
  • whose bag of tricks is crammed full and running over but you discover in the first week of school that NONE of these tricks work this year.

I pray for teachers whose students have broken hearts, broken by:

  • Abuse
  • Homelessness
  • Parents in jail or addiction
  • Depression
  • Parents who’ve given up or run away

I pray for teachers to have hearts of courage

  • hearts that will give themselves a break
  • hearts that can remember the same person who teaches brilliantly one day can be an utter flop the next day or even the next period.

I pray for you to have the courage to keep your heart open to those moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able.

Because good teaching comes from good people.

I want to encourage and inspire teachers in this Tuesday blogging, so next week look for some specific suggestions to lift you up when you get discouraged.

Start counting your joys. I’m thanking God for teachers!




  1. Steve Johnson

    Great Blog!!! I feel for Tennessee teachers and worry about the schools as the good, experienced teachers either leave or resign themselves to a fate dreary drilling for tests and the stress of what seems to be misdirected evaluation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s