Outside my classroom door is a picture. It reads, “Your teacher, Age 8.” I am in Third Grade and perfectly happy.
At first, I posted the picture to make my own third graders giggle. I love seeing their reactions. Now, it’s become much more. This Third Grader reminds me of the power of a teacher.
I had the champion of teachers that year, the one other kids would pine for after they didn’t make it onto her roster.
Mrs. Brady was a story teller. I’d get lost in her words and find myself tumbling into new worlds.
She was funny and she sang to us. Bonnies lay over the ocean and the sea every morning. ( I can still remember the words.)
She read us only the best books. I had recurring dreams of following Willy Wonka around his factory. I always tried to separate the colors of the sea: blue and grey and green. And I may have tried to make my own Freckle Juice. If you didn’t fall in love with books from our read aloud lineup, you may not have had a heartbeat.
And…if that weren’t enough, on Fridays, we picked from what can only be described as a cornucopia of all things right and beautiful: The Treasure Chest.
Third Grade was a magical place.
The years following ebbed and flowed, but averaged out somewhere near mediocre. Only one more time in my schooling would I be given the space to read a book of my choosing and write creatively. (Mrs.White, thank God for you. You were my range extender. Without you, all might be lost.)
And so, when I walk into Room 437 in 2016, I look at that 8 year old grin and I am charged with a mission: Breathe life into learning. Be funny. Sing. Love kids hard. And read the BEST books you can possibly find. Be so in love with what you do, that no matter what follows, they’ll always have Third Grade. Live in a way that they’ll remember that writing can set them free and books can carry them to new places. Teach so they’ll remember to listen like Gloria Dump, be brave like Sarah, and hope like we did for Edward. Teach so hard it goes to their bones. I’m my own proof that it won’t return void.
Tip 3: Harness your inner (insert favorite teacher’s name here). He/She is probably why you are teaching today.That kind of influence is worth passing on. That kind of joy should be recycled.
Whatever was powerful enough to make you happy will most likely work again. Try it tomorrow.