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QUIET! Teacher in Progress: Mrs. Mimi Seeks Perspective

by Mrs. Mimi
August 1, 2012
Being a teacher means embracing constant change. Yet all too often, teachers are told when, how and why to change. In this monthly column, Mrs. Mimi takes on creating change for herself by rethinking old practices and redefining teaching on her own terms.

As summer winds down for some of you out there, and all of us are subjected to back-to-school commercials that feel as if they are made simply to tighten that start-of-the-year knot in all of our stomachs, I think it’s time we get a little perspective.

May I get somewhat personal with you all for a moment?

I have had a tough summer. Tough with a capital “HOW IS THIS HAPPENING AND CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HAND ME A DRINK?!” I have worked hard to find a silver lining to all of these recent events, and have come up with something that I hope might be helpful to all of you Rockstar Teachers out there who are about to start a new year.

However, to be honest, every year I have tried to take on a shiny, new attitude about things. In the past, I would make declarations such as the following—let me know if any of these sound familiar:

“This is the year that I don’t get sucked into the gossip!” OR

“This year, I will read ten new picture books a week and catalog them on a spreadsheet!” OR

“This year, I will rewrite all of my author studies!”

And maybe you will. Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you will get an amazing class, and maybe you won’t. Maybe your classroom library will finally organize itself...or maybe it won’t.

Rather than creating an opportunity to possibly come up short against my overly specific and optimistic declarations, this year my Ode To Positive Thinking has taken on a new, less “it’s-only-a-matter-of-time-until-you-fail” tone.

This year, when I feel stressed and backed up against a wall with a to do list so long that it can be seen from space, I am going to ask myself three questions:

Will this (insert stressful event here) matter in three weeks?
Will this matter in three months?
Will this matter in three years?


And that, my friends, is how I am hoping to gain some perspective.

Let this be the year that you are kinder to yourself and let yourself off the hook just a little bit when that lesson on revision doesn’t go as well as you thought it would. Because honestly? You can come back the next day with a new and improved lesson that will revise the pants off anyone!

To all of you thoughtful, lovely, and dedicated teachers reading this, have a wonderful year. Together, with this new found thing called perspective, we’ll take steps toward becoming shinier and newer versions of our old selves.

Mrs. Mimi is a pseudonymous teacher who taught both first and second grades at a public elementary school in New York City. She's the author of IT'S NOT ALL FLOWERS AND SAUSAGES: MY ADVENTURES IN SECOND GRADE, which sprung from her popular blog of the same name. Mimi also has her doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

© 2012 Mrs. Mimi. Please do not reproduce in any form, electronic or otherwise.
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