“Everyone is smart in my classroom.”

Today is the last day before Thanksgiving break and I have to say I am exhausted!

Working with children all day is tiring.  Meeting their needs academically, socially, and emotionally takes energy.  Planning for and teaching each child in a way that it will make sense to him/her takes energy.  Entertaining them so they will listen to what I have to say takes energy.  But, all of that energy is replenished when they learn.  Each time the light bulb goes off or they tell me something they are proud of, my energy is replenished.

Unfortunately, this year I am feeling exhausted from more than just spending my days teaching.  I am feeling exhausted because I feel like I must constantly fight for what the kids need, for what is best for them.  Entering education, I was aware that I would need to be an advocate for children. However, I didn’t realize how much I would have to fight for them and I am feeling run down because of it.   Although the children and their successes help encourage me, I am still doubting that I can continue in this profession for much longer.  I am tired.

But, as long as I am their teacher I will continue to do what is best for them.  Recently this meant differentiating assessments, just as I differentiate instruction – defending my choice to do so.  I want each child to feel as though he/she is smart, capable, and valuable.  I have high expectations for every child, but they are reasonable expectations.  I want each child to learn how to struggle and persevere, without feeling like a failure.  I want each child to know that he/she is smart.

So, today, I want to say thank you to a young writer in my class.  She has encouraged me without knowing it or intending to do so.  Her informational writing topic was 3AB (our class) and one of her sections had the heading Smart.  Here is her writing and my reason to continue during these times that cause me to doubt:

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