I want to talk to you today from my heart. I know how overwhelming it can be when you look at social media and wonder if you’ll be able to measure up to the things you’re seeing other teachers do in their classrooms. I get overwhelmed with it all too.
I’m sorry that we, as teacher-bloggers, sometimes fall into the trap of only posting the best of the best, and not the everyday realities of teaching.
As we get closer and closer to heading back to school, I know you’re being flooded with pictures of perfect classrooms. I’ve seen them too. They’re on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook… everywhere I turn. They’re gorgeous, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a picture-perfect, Pinterest classroom.
But sometimes you just can’t. Even if you want to. This year, my school is moving into a brand new building. It’s gorgeous! But that also means we’re starting from scratch in the classroom setup department. Movers took things from our old building to the new one over the summer, but they aren’t teachers. I went in today for the first time all summer, and this is what I saw:
Teachers start back on Monday, and we have 4 days between now and when school starts to get our rooms completely put together. From scratch. Oh, did I mention that I have a husband and a 5 year old at home who need me, and I’m 8 months pregnant with our second?
Here’s the thing: My classroom won’t be perfect this year. And it’s ok. And it doesn’t make me any less of a great teacher.
Some people might tell you that mine is a Pinterest classroom. I’ll let you in on a little secret though… It’s never as clean or as put together or as perfect as I feel like it should be. And that’s probably because I’m comparing my classroom to all the pictures I see on social media.
Maybe you do this too. Maybe it makes you feel inferior. Maybe you feel like you have to settle for being an okay teacher. Maybe you think you’ll be getting those “world’s okayest teacher” mugs this year instead of the “world’s best teacher” ones. But none of that is true. You are amazing! You are enough! You are better than just okay!
See, being an amazing teacher isn’t about your classroom theme or how many hours you work after school and on the weekends. It isn’t about how elaborate your back to school or end of the year student gifts are. And it’s certainly not about how many trendy teacher things you have in your classroom. (Can you say cactus-pineapple themed lightbox?!)
None of those things are what your students will remember about you. They’ll remember the things that made you an #amazingteacher.
Amazing teachers like you connect with your students. You know your students’ family situations, their hopes and dreams, their fears and failures. Your students know they can come to you for help, because they know you love them.
Amazing teachers like you pour your heart and soul into the actual work of teaching… not decorating, not organizing, not back to school shopping. You know that what really matters is what you do every day for your students, not what your classroom looks like.
Amazing teachers like you constantly strive to improve your teaching practices, even if what you know is best for your students might not be what’s trendy right now. You aren’t afraid to be different, if different is what works for your class.
Amazing teachers like you love what you do. Even though you might sometimes feel less than perfect, teaching is your passion and it shows. Your students know it. Your administrators know it. Your coworkers know it. And it has nothing to do with anything you saw on Instagram!
Amazing teachers like you are also amazing moms & dads, husbands & wives, siblings & friends. Because truly amazing teachers know that you have to balance your dedication to your students with your personal life. You have a family and friends that need you just like your students do!
This year, I’m going to strive to let my social media reflect what’s real in my classroom (even if that means I’m posting a picture of a messy room or sloppy handwriting!) I hope more teacher-authors will join me in an effort to show that being an #amazingteacher is about so much more than picture-perfect classrooms.
Most importantly, I hope that my being a little more transparent helps you realize that YOU ARE AN AMAZING TEACHER! You’re amazing because of what you do every day for your students. (No matter what your classroom looks like!)
Love, Another #amazingteacher whose classroom isn’t perfect either
P.S. Head over to my Instagram (@chalkandapples), and tag some friends who need to know that they are an #amazingteacher too!
We weren't meant to do this teaching life alone... we need each other. Join our Upper Elementary teacher community on Facebook for tips, ideas, and support from people who get it... teachers just like you!