I Feel the Greatest Love (like Whitney Houston).

It appears from all media sources that this is going to be one discouraging BTS.  It could even be one of the most discouraging years on record thanks to legislature changes.  I don't know many teachers who are excited about the changes that came about recently.  I've gotten countless requests to wear red and to read this latest article about the poorly performing elected officials.  I've seen too many discouraging pay scales and YAY! We're now 50th!   Can you imagine how the recent teaching graduate feels?  These poor souls went into their freshman year planning on making a difference, and graduated in May to the furious moans and groans and status updates of the veteran teachers.

But despite the low pay, the disillusioned politicians, and the new policies we're forced to implement, we've still got our jobs to do.  We will have bright and shiny faces ready to learn.  Sweet faces that had nothing to do with the policies we're enforcing on their behalf.  They didn't ask for the changes in our curriculum.  They certainly didn't call the politicians and demand our pay to be embarrassingly low.

And we need to remember to not take it out on them.  

First day of school 2012-2013.
My girls have always had AWESOME teachers who were ready to go the extra mile marathon for their students. 
Therefore, we need to make sure that our MVPs, our students, are not affected by the negative fallout that has occurred in our education system.  We need to remember why we got into teaching in the first place--for those kids.  

And yes, I'm scared of some of the changes coming down the pipes.  Yes, I am angry at the lack of support from the elected officials who have never stepped foot into my classroom or my school or even my city.  Yes, I worry that my paycheck will not be enough to support the needs of my family.  Yes, I wonder what else will be taken away from us.  Yes, I'm tired of hearing how we're going to be graded on a scale that has nothing to do with the individual needs of my students.  

Yes, I am just as sick and tired as you all are about it all--but I cannot let my disappointment affect my job performance.  

And you, my fellow educators, are too important in shaping these children's futures to let them down.

Therefore, I suggest on that first day of school we resolve to not let these decisions and the decision makers take it all away from us and our teaching.  

They can take away our pay, our former curriculums, our tenure, and various other things--but they cannot take away our passion for our students.  They cannot take away the power of a positive attitude.  They cannot make me stop praying every morning on my way in the building for a good day, to have good relationships with those I interact with, to avoid unnecessary conflicts, and to make a difference.  They cannot take away my relationships with my colleagues who make smile just by being around them.  They cannot take away my laughter when a student says something extremely witty.  They cannot take away my tears when my students finally sing that phrase with the right vocal quality.  They cannot take away the joy on the kids' (and teachers') faces when the Friday bell rings.  They cannot take the moment a child finally reads their first sentence.  They cannot take away children holding hands on the playground.  They cannot take away the students offering to help their classmates in wheelchairs and walkers.  They cannot take away reading buddies.  They cannot take away the thigh-hugs from small kids, they cannot take away the love pictures with misspelled words I have taped to my desk and closets.  They cannot take away the notes of appreciation from parents.  They cannot take away the whistles of the custodial staff members.  They cannot take away the singing bus drivers.  They cannot take away the giggles of small children when someone inadvertently passes gas during the moment of silence, tornado drill, or circle time.  They cannot take away the cheer from a new bulletin board, the smell of fresh crayons, or glitter (sorry my fellow Art teachers--I still love me some glitter).    

I'm vowing to protect these things in my classroom and at my school this year, and I hope you will, too. 

I hope you will join me as I resolve to step away from the negativity.  I resolve to refrain from complaining.  I resolve to ignore those people who are constantly on the Nag & Whine trains to nowhere.  I resolve to not let my pay, my time, nor my curriculum changes keep me from doing my absolute best to make a difference every minute of every class of every day.  

My own children are in those classrooms.  I don't want them to be affected by poor attitudes.  I don't want their teachers to bring negativity into their childhoods.  I want them to look forward to each school day with a sense of adventure and wonder about what their teachers are going to bring to the table. 

BTS will be here before we're ready, but I'm determined to go in that building on Monday morning with a good attitude, a fresh perspective, and a smile on my face. 

Who's with me?  

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