Be a Marigold

Happy Sunday, teacher friends! I really am inspired to share my thoughts in this post. There has been a LOT of talk this summer in the blogging/teaching community about focusing on the positive - with your kids, in your classroom, in your life as a whole. And talk about "finding your tribe" - being with people who are like-minded, people who share the same interests, enthusiasm and passion that you do. Teaching is exactly that - a passion. It comes from within.

I remember being on an interview committee years ago. We were hiring for a first grade position and we asked the generic question, "What made you want to become a teacher?" The usual answers centered around playing school all the time, interactions with special teachers, etc. But one candidate had a different answer. She talked about a "teaching gene" that lives inside some people. It shows itself in the many years playing school with siblings and friends, the summers spent as camp counselors and the love for everything about school. Some people are born with that gene, and teaching is all they ever wanted to do. They are passionate about their choice - teaching is WHO they are. It is in their being.

I never forgot that answer. And I thought about it many times over my years of teaching. I have that teaching gene. And I know you do, too. That gene is what drives us to connect with our students and their families. It is what keeps us awake at night, worrying about the students in our classrooms, our excitedly planning the next adventure for their minds. It is why we spend our summers planning and creating and thinking... "teacher brain" never turns off.

And that brings us to the main point of my post. Teaching is a joy - and it is hard. In order to be the best we can be, we need to surround ourselves with other people who also have that teaching gene. We need to mentor and support each other. I came across a fabulous article that Jen over at Runde's Room shared on Facebook this week. It is written by Jennifer from Cult of Pedagogy. It talks about marigolds. Yes, marigolds. And walnut trees. And their relationship to teaching. There is no way I am going to give that article justice by summarizing it here. So I want you to go read it. Right now. And after you read it, come back here.

I'll wait. (Click on the image.)
Powerful, huh? There can be so much negativity in schools now-a-days. And it’s easy to get caught up in it. DON’T. It will zap the enjoyment of teaching right out of you. That’s not to say we don’t all have bad days. Or that what we are asked to do as teachers… sigh… is becoming more and more difficult. Or that things haven’t changed over the years. All this is true. But always try to remember why you became a teacher in the first place. It is who you are. It is in your genes. You make a difference.

So as you go into a new year, make it a priority to find those people – or even just that one person – on your staff who are your marigolds. We may not always be easy to spot. But we are here. Connect with other teachers, new and experienced, in your school, in your district, or here on social media. Marigolds come in all shapes, sizes and colors. This year, be a marigold.
(NOTE: I'm going to print out one or these photos and keep it framed near my desk all year.
You can download the file by clicking on the image.)

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