Have you ever walked home from work while (finally) listening to Serial and started reflecting on your teaching life up to that moment?

Oh, good. I’m glad I’m not the only one because that’s exactly what happened to me last night. I was excited to get my Serial on and find out more information on what happened to Hae Min when my mind started to wander. First, I was thinking

about how it was 8:30pm and raining. I thought about how safe it was for me to be walking home at that time, while raining, while not being able to hear my surroundings because I was listening to a podcast- a podcast about a girl who disappeared, and was murdered. I thought about how I probably wouldn’t do that if I were still living in the US- because I would be PARANOID. My mind always goes to worst case scenario– kind of like when I used to watch Unsolved Mysteries while home alone with my younger sister and we’d FREAK OUT at any and every little sound. I thought about how I’d probably be driving while listening to this podcast if I were in the US. I thought about the old district I worked at before teaching internationally. I thought about the stresses of teaching in a US public school and the high expectations my principal at the time had of her staff.

I thought about my life now, teaching and living abroad. I thought about the freedom I have as an educator to explore my passions and the freedom to try things out with my students and fail. We don’t have a crazy standardized test looming over our heads. I thought about the high expectations I have for myself. I thought about authentic technology integration. I thought about the importance of being surrounded by like-minded people and other educators who push you to test your limits and comfort zones.

Basically, I thought. A lot. Here’s what I have:

What a great gift it is to be an educator, regardless of where you and I are teaching. In the words of Kid President, we’re teaching the world what it looks like to be awesome!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwlhUcSGqgs[/youtube]

Regardless of if you’re preparing or not preparing for a standardized test, we can still be awesome! Whether I’m teaching in my home country or internationally, our job is the same. I don’t teach so I can have a better Instagram feed than another teacher, or have more colorful anchor charts than the other teacher down the hallway, or [insert your own reason here].

All of those thoughts I had while walking home at 8:30pm on a rainy Saturday night turned into a pep talk. I needed that self pep talk. You guys, it’s November! I don’t know about you, but my first trimester of this new school year has been crazy! Earlier, I briefly mentioned having high expectations of yourself. It’s both a gift, AND a curse. I can’t be the best at anything, I make mistakes.

Constantly. My students aren’t afraid to let me know when I mess something up- especially with Common Core math. I know I can’t be the only one out there who does this! All I can do is work on improving and keep reminding myself what kind of legacy I want to leave with my students. I’m sure some of them will remember how to solve a multiplication sentence using partial products or the area model, but that’s not something they’ll remember as adults. I know I can barely remember math strategies from when I was a grade four student. I DO, however, remember feeling like my teacher genuinely cared about me and other students in class.

As Mother Teresa said, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

This. This is what students will remember. All of the other “stuff” is important too- tech integration, anchor charts, math strategies, reading strategies, don’t get me wrong- but it won’t be what our students remember the most from their lives as students and learners in the classroom environment.

Great. Now I need to go back and re-listen to my podcast!