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I’m Not Here to Live an Okay Life


The other day my friend and I were talking about a major shift that is happening in her life. She made a big change, and in describing her decision process about this change, she said, “It was all okay before, but I am not here to live an okay life, you know?” Sometimes people say things to me that I want to put on a   t-shirt or a coffee cup, or shout out to the world, and definitely and more importantly, that I want to apply to my life. Her statement resonated with me completely.

It’s easy to live an okay life. Sometimes we even have to. But I hope you get a choice. It’s a lot harder to push past safe and try something scary, whatever that may be. Having left safe and arrived at unsure and scary, I can say it’s very satisfying, albeit unsettling and middle-of-the-night freak out inducing. It is very nerve-wracking to attempt to conquer something that scares the shit out of you, but it is also the most awesome feeling in the world. I sometimes joke with people about being so poor as a new teacher that I can’t buy coffee anymore, or the potential of becoming a Walmart greeter rather than ever retire, but I still feel very happy to be doing something I absolutely love. Some days are hard, and I always have moments of “I don’t know what the hell I am doing” or “whoops, I totally blew that lesson” but I also have moments of perfection. Moments of exact right-place, right-choice, right-time experiences. I love every single one of my students and I love being a teacher. People hear what I do for a living and some say flippantly, “oh, well, good luck with that, ha ha.” I just smile. They can’t know how good it feels to help kids reach their social, behavioral and academic goals. They couldn’t have a clue how cool it is to be a motivator and positive force in these young lives. Yes, administration is too hard on teachers. Yes, there is no money. Yes, kids today are different than they were 20 years ago. Yes, it’s all about test scores. But I’d still rather be here than anywhere else, because in that mess are the young lives of our smallest and most important citizens of the world. And I am working on living a life of no regrets and no should have, could have, would have, if onlys. No just okay life.

Fun rookie teacher mistakes:

I did hot chocolate math with my kindergarteners, using real marshmallows, and told them, don’t eat these, they are counting tools for math. They nearly lost their minds. I switched to cotton balls.

I read The Book That Eats People to the kindergarteners and freaked them all out right before Christmas break. Woops. They might need to ban me from kindergarten. Ah well.

I am reading way too many books, if that is even possible. Here are all of the books either in progress or recently completed.

The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard (awesome)

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott (loved it, a vital annual read)

Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov and Norman Atkins (I can dream)

Excuses Be Gone by Wayne Dyer

I Need Your Love – Is That True? By Byron Katie

Simplicity Essays by Millburn and Nicodemus (The Mins, they rock)

Passionate Learners by Robert L. Fried

Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh

Almost a Family by John Darnton

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Vicki permalink
    01/27/2013 12:09 am

    Teachers are super heros! I did not fit in at home. My teachers were my support system and my adopted family. It is such a shame that someone can become a millionaire playing basketball, while teachers can’t buy coffee!

    • 01/31/2013 3:59 am

      Well, now I am officially off sub pay and on contract so I think I can afford coffee now! mmmm, coffee….

  2. Vicki permalink
    01/27/2013 12:10 am

    All the one minute manager books are great. I also like “who moved my cheese?”

    • 01/31/2013 4:00 am

      I haven’t read that one. I will have to try it. Currently reading Nurture Shock by Po Bronson, which is very interesting.

  3. Angi permalink
    03/31/2013 3:03 am

    Yes, when those right place, right time moments happened it can almost feel like divine intervension. Of all schools you could have gone to….just saying.

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