When I wake up for work, I convince myself to get out of bed for the simple reason that if my students have the energy and motivation to show up each and every day, so should I. So that’s what I do. I suit up and show up, day after day, even (and especially) when I feel like just staying in bed, because I know that there are students waiting for me who truly want to learn something today. What great motivation is that!
I am a big believer in the idea that, as a teacher, it is not my job to transmit knowledge, but rather to facilitate learning. In doing so, I take full responsibility for creating and maintaining a learning environment, providing students with the skills and resources they need, and guiding them in practicing and applying these skills to the subject material. In each of these functions, I place great importance on the willingness of students. In fact, one of my favorite things to tell students is that I will match their willingness as far as it goes. If they do the homework I will be there to edit it. If they come to me with questions, I will be there to answer them. If they ask for extra help I will always do whatever it takes to provide it.
I think so often we underestimate the importance of just suiting up and showing up. I know that I can be incredibly hard on myself as a teacher, worrying that my lesson plan is not good enough or exciting enough or engaging enough. When I worry too much about being the perfect teacher, I forget that my main role is just to show up and support my students in their learning. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely simple. I find that if I remind myself of this in the morning, my day seems to go by much more smoothly. So just for today, I’m not going to worry about being the perfect teacher, I am just going to be of service to my students in any way I can be.