It is no secret that times are tough for teachers. We face legislation and budgets that threaten to shut down some of the most valuable work that we do. We face overcrowded classrooms, full of students with a variety of complex needs. We face never ending workloads, distracted students, and a plagiarism epidemic. The struggle can be so real. I am not even through the first semester and I face burnout. But for today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will find a way to find gratitude in my grief and pride in my problems. Below are 5 things I am thankful for this year. Feel free to leave a comment with something you are grateful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving!
- I'm thankful for the internet. Yes, the internet can be a frustrating shortcut for students to read summaries instead of chapters or buy papers instead of write them. However, the internet is also home to The Poetry Foundation and The Library of Congress. Without the internet, I would be forced to stick only to the contents of my anthology or my monthly copy budget. With the internet, I can share all the wonderful poems, primary source documents, and other content that I find engaging to my students.
- I'm thankful for student devices. You bet I am AT MY WIT'S END with students who choose to spend my whole class clandestinely tweeting, posting, and texting instead of engaging, discussing, and analyzing. However, without student devices, I would not be able to seamlessly organize paperless curriculum through evernote, schoology, or google drive. Mother Earth deserves to have a Thanksgiving too.
- I'm thankful for a limited budget. I LOVE new gadgets and toys in my classroom. If I had a large classroom budget, I would spend way too much time trying out new products and not enough time refining the use of the ones I already have.
- I'm thankful for a diverse student population. Differentiating curriculum is the challenge of my lifetime. I lose sleep over it regularly. However, having large classes, with a variety of skill levels, learning disabilities, and social needs allow for learning and collaboration in my classroom to feel like real life problem solving. Students learn to understand and respect others and we all learn from each other so much more than we could in a homogenous environment.
- I'm thankful for perspective. I complain...a lot. I want to change many things about the education system in general and my school in particular. However, I am thankful that I can look at things from another perspective. Many of my complaints can be flipped to be blessings. I recently saw this article with pictures of school from around the world and it hit me with a good deal of perspective; for that I am grateful.
What are you thankful for this year?