What this 29-year veteran teacher learned this year….

Any of you that know me personally know that the 2012-2013 school year was a rough one for me so I was less than sure about how this one might go and what that might mean for my future in education and at my school.   So a year after that challenging one, here’s where I am  – no proofreading from my English teacher friends, just the raw facts grammatical errors, dangling participles and all!

I’ve learned lots of little things that have been great – how to do a vlookup in Excel, how to use interactive notebooks in class, how to navigate the online course world of Canvas.  All of those things have been great but here are the BIG things I’ve learned this year….(or really knew but somehow had forgotten)

  • As the amazing Larry Clarke says, “You can lead from the back seat!” – Leadership is about so much more than a position.   Its about stepping up when you’re needed.  Its about mentoring others by just doing your own best work.  Its about listening and collaborating.  You can lead from anywhere and often folks are looking to you for leadership even when you’re not intentionally leading or in a leadership position.  I have been blessed to have been reminded of these opportunities this year and I’m so grateful.
  •  I often give others too much power over how I feel about myself and the job I do.  I’m not saying that I’d be ok with never hearing good things or always hearing critical things about what I do.   What I am saying is that I need to consider each within the context of what’s good for me and my kids.  I want to keep that growth mindset and continue to learn but also work on not letting critical things effect how I feel about myself and shake my confidence.  Last year I wondered if I had stayed too long at the party.  I wondered if my time had come.  My confidence was shaken.

But I am happy to report…. I still have some “party” in me.

  • You can move forward and learn by moving backwards.  Giving up a leadership position2013-12-11 18.31.27 that just wasn’t working for me has allowed me to find my passion again.   I refocused on my classroom and my kids and its been a wonderful year full of learning for both of us.   It wasn’t perfect – there were ups and downs but they seemed so much more doable.  I found time to try those ideas that I so selfishly stole from my CHS, Twitter and Math Forum/Drexel friends and turned to them when I felt like I was at the end of my rope.  I got to have those conversations with other teachers that I’d been needing so badly.  My kids supplied the affirmation that I had made the right decision.  They reminded me why I went into education to begin with.  I expected a lot, they worked hard and learned a lot of math and hopefully a lot more.  I completely loved them and many gave me tons of love right back.  That is worth so much more than I can describe.

They are it!  That’s why we’re here! Not a title or a position or a job.  And WE are so much more IMPORTANT than even we realize sometimes.  Its an enormously hard job that is so amazing.  So this veteran will keep at it a little longer hoping to continue learning, helping others and having fun while I’m at it. Would you believe I’m already looking forward to next year?

But first … a nap… maybe a summers worth!



    • Max on June 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I just wanted to stop by and say that this post made me smile. I’m glad to hear you had a good and re-energizing year. Can’t wait to see you soon!

      • lbburke on June 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks Max! You were a big part of that “re-energizing” piece! Can’t wait to learn more this summer too. See you soon!

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