Learning The Art of Teacherly Love

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 28 2013


The Pennsylvania Department of Education Mastery Charter Mann Special Education Audit Week, in a Nut Shell:
-Stressful-like your life, your work, and your students are under a microscope-interviews, observations, clarifying questions…
-Negative-let me just give you this scene: The woman in charge of the audit (the State DOE employee) leaves the administrative/Special Education Team’s Mid-Audit “Feedback Meeting” and my boss, my special education colleagues, and myself are immediately all in tears.

I am just going to leave it at that.

While I would love to vent, rant, and literally scream about the situation and the way we were treated, I was given a much needed reminder during my drive home, while stopped at a red light, of all places.
Thankfully, the car I was stopped behind had a custom license plate that read, “B GR8FUL.”

This snapped me out of my own head, and brought me back to the present.  Where all afternoon we have been replaying, reliving, and stressing over the interaction and results from our “Feedback,” I was quickly reminded that in all situations, we need to turn on the Light and seek out the positive.
Even if it is hiding behind an ornate and ugly antique urn from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there must always be a positive, or some way to find Joy in our struggles.

James 1:2-4 reads, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Sitting behind that “B GR8FUL” car, I began listing all the things that currently bring me joy, even in the midst of this struggle:

  1. Our Administrative Team:  all 5 administrators were present at the meeting, along with the head of the Special Education programs for all Mastery schools, and all 6 of those people reacted the same way following the meeting; They’ve got our backs.  They will support us, our kids, and our programs no matter what.  They are on our side, by our side, and proud of the things we are accomplishing.
  2. The head of the Special Education programs for Mastery, who said, “At the end of the day, children can read, write, and problem solve, because of the work you do.  This does not reflect who you are, or your accomplishments.”
  3. The best friend I have ever had, and my favorite person:  While he may not understand all the technicalities, acronyms, terms, and legalities of the world of Special Education (it is a lot to get a handle on if you didn’t go to grad school for it, but he tries!), he does acknowledge how hard we work and how much I give my heart to this job, and he is above and beyond supportive and encouraging.
  4. My best friends:  Even though we are spread out across this country, they are all beyond supportive, so encouraging, and like our admins, on my team, and ready and willing to lift my spirits whenever I need it.
  5. Their progress:  My boys are making incredible academic strides! Something must have clicked, or I must have repeated myself enough times, or they just are amazing, because I have never seen them write such outstanding paragraphs, or work so hard and get so many correct on their math assessments.  This progress, I am so grateful for.
  6. It will be March soon.  March means I will be getting weekend visitors!  I will get to show off my city, catch up with friends I miss so much, and enjoy the spring weather that has almost fully arrived.
  7. I am happy; I am healthy; and I am feeling fulfilled.  That alone is enough to wipe out any negative and replace it with Joy.

What situation are you facing where you need to turn on the Light and find the positive?  Whatever the struggle, follow the license plate’s directions!
 Find the good.  It will change your attitude, your day, and put you back on a path of Joyfulness.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34

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    Dare to Teach with Love… Never cease to Learn.

    Greater Philadelphia
    Elementary School
    Special Education

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