You Don’t Have to Be a Perfect Teacher to Be a Good Teacher


You Don't Have to Be a Perfect Teacher to Be a Good Teacher

I lied in bed one early Saturday morning before my tornados of toddlers woke up, just reflecting on how exhausted I felt. Exhausted from another week of teaching, exhausted from my biological clock not allowing me to sleep in, exhausted from the thought of the amount of laundry that needs to be done, the house that needs to be cleaned, the bag of papers that need to graded that I “forgot” in my car, and from the rest of the things on my multiple to-do lists that I never find the time for. So, what did I do? I grabbed my phone and scrolled through social media, checked my email, my bank account, and it all added to the exhaustion. All I see when I pick up my phone are…

Elaborately-decorated classrooms…

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Perfectly-dressed family holiday photos…

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Pinterest-perfect art projects hanging on color-coordinated bulletin boards…

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Videos of teachers dancing on desks and memorizing personalized handshakes for each student…

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Photos of people saving baby turtles on the beach…

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Unpleasant emails from parents…

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Low bank account balance…

All of it EXHAUSTED me even more. But why? Why do I let these things make me feel like everything I do is not good enough? Why do I feel like a bad teacher and a bad parent and a bad person? Because I’m not. I’m doing the best that I can and dammit, that should be enough. And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way.

To all my fellow teachers out there feeling the same, IT IS OKAY!

Is your classroom often a mess, unorganized and lacking a themed decor? Don’t worry, your students can learn without a perfect classroom.

Do your lessons always go as planned and keep your students engaged all the time? Guess what, no one’s lessons do, and you’re still a good teacher.

Do your students’ parents support your decisions and agree with your teaching approach? Who cares, you know how to run your classroom better than anyone.

Do you spend some weekends watching shows and relaxing when you’re behind on your lesson plans and paperwork? Good for you! It’s important to recharge and turn your teacher-brain off when you leave the school building on Friday afternoon. We’re humans, too!

Are some students so unruly and disrespectful to you no matter how hard you try to help them? Don’t give up. One day, they will remember it and it could change their life.

Do you wear the same pants more than 3 times a week? That’s OK. Laundry is time-consuming and new clothes aren’t cheap.

Do you heat up frozen meals or pick up take-out on the way home for dinner for your own kids because you’re too exhausted to cook after a day in the classroom with 30-40 of other people’s kids? You’re still a good parent.

Is your Instagram lacking likes and followers? Relax. You don’t need social media to validate anything. You’re loved. You’re respected. Keep doing do what you do!

So here is my call to you, teacher friends. Put down your phone, get off media, don’t judge each other, don’t compare yourselves to others, and don’t you think for a second that you’re not doing enough because you see others doing it differently. Being a teacher is hard and we all have our own approach. Whatever works for you, keep doing it. Whatever makes you happy, focus on that. We’re all in it for the same reasons and as long as you make the best of the cards you’re dealt, you’re doing enough.

Read: Enter the Mind of a Teacher and Feel the Weight We Carry

You Don't Have to Be a Perfect Teacher to Be a Good Teacher

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