Every perfect teacher in the world is one who is completely herself, always.
My son is that age when he wishes he were like everyone else. I remember exactly how that feels.
At his age I believed three things about myself:
1) I would never have a boyfriend,
2) I would never make the high school swim team, and
3) I would never be popular.
A few years later I felt comfortable enough to be comfortable as me—and I had a boyfriend, and I had made the swim team, and I had plenty of friends. Now, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. I had become much more myself, but those years before taught me the pain of insecurity.
One of my gifted students (who is reading six grade levels above his age) suggested to me that if we’re all different, then there is no one who’s normal or average. But logic doesn’t always conquer feelings. I think e e cummings said it best: “to be nobody-but-myself in world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”
How do we stay true to ourselves while still following state or national curriculum, following the mandates of our districts or schools, and listening to all stake holders?
The answer is simple.
But not easy.
Follow your own inner teacher-compass, doing what you know is best for your students AND you, relying on your strengths.
If I sit quietly in the mornings in my classroom—after a good night’s sleep—I know what my students need. I know the curriculum and my students at this time of the year. So it just takes a little self-reflection and thought to move forward in the right direction, each and every day.
While I may not be the teacher next door with her super-neat desk, or the one down the hall that uses iPads with every lesson, I am that teacher—the teacher who listens to her students and grows them where they are planted.
My way is not perfect for everyone. I don’t always follow the rules. For example, I don’t believe that children should be quiet because “grown ups are talking.” I don’t always teach the same lesson as my colleagues even though it’s expected.
All teachers have strengths—I call them superpowers — and by using them first, we can be the perfect teacher for our students every day of the year.
I know that I am the perfect teacher for mine, just as I know that you can be for yours. Let’s be perfect together!