“October and February are the toughest, longest, and most exhausting months for teachers,” they said. By “they," I mean everyone. It is well known in the community of education that, as much as we love our students deeply, these months can feel like an eternity. These months are often marked by illnesses circulating in classrooms (if you teach in elementary, you pray not the stomach bug!), dark nights leaving school, and few breaks. There is, however, hope in remembering that the holidays and Spring are around the corner. Who gets teachers through these difficult months? Community, sweet students, great friends, and good food. We can stay steady on The Grind when we are surrounded by moments of compassion, joy, and hope.
Over these past two years of teaching, I have come to realize that there is nothing more motivating and thoughtful than a note from a student. As a fourth-grade teacher, the notes I receive are especially sweet because my students love to show their love. A note can turn a slow, exhausting week into one that you are excited to finish. I always try to reciprocate these thoughtful moments for my students, because I am grateful to understand the way they can change the trajectory of a week. The note above was written on a homework assignment and left on my desk. I mean?!
Community has a special way of reminding you of your purpose as a teacher, friend, and supporter, too. In Denver, we have been lucky enough to have attended each other’s school events as a community, and these are some of the best nights we have had all year. They have given us a new perspective and small glimpses of our community members’ places in their school communities. Spending time with each other is sure to bring countless laughs, questionable jokes, and refreshing love. There is no better way to get to know each other better than bartending a school event! Tips appreciated.
One of the most important parts of enduring the grind of the school year is finding moments of calm and time to do the things you love. As teachers, we can easily become caught up in planning, sports games, grading, and the emotions that are sure to come along with caring about and loving our students. I have learned the importance of time management over these two years, and now I can find time throughout the week and weekend to enjoy the beauty that is Denver (and life!). This might look like watching "Ted Lasso" or "Masked Singer" with DenvACE during the week, taking a long walk or run after school, or meditating in the pickup line (according to my students). It gets easier with time, but it is of great importance. When we take care of ourselves, we can better walk alongside our students and stay steady on The Grind.