I LOVE Debbie Miller! I really, truly do! As teachers we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us and of those who have mentored us in some way. Their influence on our teaching lives is like the ripples in a pond when you throw out a rock. They keep going and going and going. That is what Debbie Miller has done for me. I first read Debbie Miller’s book “Reading with Meaning” when I had been in the classroom for many years. Maybe it was her style of writing or her love for children or her amazing teaching ideas…..or probably all of them….but I was enthralled. She inspired me, encouraged me and revived me for teaching anew. Still today, when I need encouragement or to be returned to balance and reminded to teach from the heart, I pull out her books and read her words for the umpteenth time.
Today was one of those days. As a specialist I get to go all over the school during the day. Today I saw more discouragement, more anxiety, and more stress on teacher’s faces than there should ever be. It was sad. Too many discussions about scores and numbers, too many roadblocks for providing help that some kiddles need, and too many teachers running about as if they were in the race to end all races. Sigh. It was a “Debbie Miller I need you” kind of day. If you had a day like that, or if you feel your whole career is like that, let me give you some encouragement from Debbie Miller’s words because what you do matters!
Debbie says….”It’s true that teachers have never been under more pressure. We’re bombarded by demands and directives deemed by others as necessary and nonnegotiable. But when getting done takes precedence over doing, when finishing becomes more important than figuring out, we’ve lost sight of why we became teachers in the first place; we’ve lost sight of what we know to be true. In our rush to try to fit everything in, we’ve forgotten that children learn by doing. And learning by doing takes time.” (From Debbie’s book – Teaching With Intention)
I love that! It encourages me and validates my thinking that maybe this teaching world has gotten way to crazy. I would add to Debbie’s words. I would say that in all those demands…we’ve forgotten that children are children and they have a right to learn as a child…not as a miniature adult. They have a right to slow down and learn at their own pace, to figure things out, and to take time to think about things. They have a right to learn happily…not under pressure and stress. They deserve to have happy, unstressed teachers, too! After all, we want them to be happy, curious learners right? So take Debbie’s words to heart and let them encourage you.
You, dear teacher, are amazing and what you do matters! Teach from your heart! Teach what you believe!
Have a terrific rest of your week!