I’m focusing on things I do well to help me remember that they exist. I could list all the things I want to do better (or to just do in the first place) and it would take quite a while. It’s easy for that to be all I see. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. I think we, as teachers, beat ourselves up a lot in this way. It’s important to remember all that we are doing as well as working on what we want to improve.
I feel like I need to say, however, that these ‘reasons I’m awesome’ are far from unique to me. I don’t think they make me teacher-of-the-year quality. In fact, I can quickly tell you things each of my teammates do that impress the heck out of me and that I aspire to do as well.
My teammate right next door is the most thoughtful, deliberate member of our team. She does not share my impulsivity so she sees things I completely miss. She’s the one who is able to see implications far down the road. She keeps our team balanced as we plan ahead and look at student learning. Her vision is amazing to me and I’m glad she’s there to share it with me (and us).
Across the hall from me is a teacher who makes me feel like I own only a handful of books (which my daughters will quickly tell you is far from true). She seems to know every fiction and nonfiction picture book ever written and can pull up several perfect titles for anything you might want to do. She is also exceptionally passionate and knowledgeable about issues of equity in education.
Next door to her is a teacher who works with families more regularly and with a genuine belief in working together as team better than any teacher I’ve ever known. She calls parents all the time and meets with them frequently. She and her students’ families are completely aligned in helping their students. This would impress me anywhere but in a school in which many families don’t speak English well yet, this is no small feat.
I could continue down our hallway and downstairs, listing the ways in which my colleagues are better teachers than I. But I do that plenty already, recognize their strengths and see them as something lacking in myself. I can look at these phenomenal teachers and see the things they do so well without it making me see myself as less. But it requires some effort. It doesn’t come naturally.
So I’ll keep writing posts about ‘reasons I’m awesome’, a title that was meant pretty tongue-in-cheek. I’ll also keep sharing with my colleagues all the reasons they are awesome.