Hey, teacher. I have a special message for you—are you paying close attention?
You might want to sit down for this.
There’s a lot you don’t know about yourself. I’m going to tell you five things you really, absolutely, positively should know about yourself.
I’ve met some incredible people in my life as an archaeologist cavorting with adventurers, linguists, daredevils, and scholars.
But as many awesome people as I’ve met before, I’ve never encountered anyone as amazing as teachers. So, here are the five important things you should know about yourself:
1. You Are Brilliant. Teachers use more parts of their brain in any one moment than most professionals. You can teach a lesson with an ever-changing curriculum, manage student behavior, and differentiate for each of your students all in the same moment.Teachers multitask with the best of the rocket scientists. Yes, I just compared you to rocket scientists. You are artists, scholars, writers, planners, and magicians.
On your good days, you inspire. On your more challenging days, you get by with 3 hours of sleep and wrangle a classroom of kids, and laugh at your own mess.
2. You Are Creative. Many teachers know they are creative while others believe they don’t have a creative bone in their body. Every teacher is creative.Here’s how I know.
Do you ever plan lessons? You are creative. Do you teach to different learning styles, multiple subjects, and ability levels? You are amazingly creative. Do you ever solve problems in your classroom? You are a master at being creative.
Cynics consider someone creative only if you produce super cute lessons, a beautiful bulletin board, or an extravagant classroom environment. Creativity means more than artistic ability–it means problem solving, planning lessons, and teaching lessons!
3. You Are Caring. This is a no brainer. Of course, you’re caring because you are a teacher.
4. You Are Resilient. Within the growth mindset movement in education, resiliency is a trait we instill in our students, that beautiful skill of being able to push through difficult situations, respond to any challenge, and get your butt up off the ground when you fall.Teachers, day in and day out, are naturally resilient. Otherwise, we’d run home crying that we sucked at a lesson or we made a mistake in our teaching, or how we forgot the name of the first president of the United States as we were teaching a history lesson.
We don’t give up. Teachers never give up. We don’t give up on our kids and we don’t give up on our teaching.
5. You Are Brave. I’ve seen you stand up to angry parents, stand firm in your convictions, and protect your children during challenging situations.I’ve seen teachers calmly read to their students while holed up in a bathroom as a tornado touched down a mere mile away. I know teachers who’ve reassuringly ushered students from a building during a bomb threat, entertaining their students with stories to distract them.
As a man walked onto a playground with a gun, a teacher friend of mine told me how the teachers closed their curtains, moved their kids to a safe area of the room, and told them stories as a treat.
The children in all those scenarios were calm and felt safe due to the bravery of their teacher. Yes, teachers are brave.
So as you enter your classroom in the coming days, know that you are brilliant, creative, caring, resilient, and brave. Know that you can tackle any hectic day and any teaching challenge. If you ever doubt yourself, look in the mirror and say, “I am a teacher. I have superpowers.” Or read this article again, and again, and again.