Saturday, February 16, 2019

What's saving your teaching life right now?

This week has been one of those weeks that seems like it had an extra day (or two).  One day we even found ourselves asking if there was a full moon.

It was also one of those weeks when I found myself repeating, "I can't do this anymore...I can't do this any more."

I'm tired, and I feel defeated.

And I have no answers on how to fix it.

Then today as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I clicked on a tweet from Tricia Ebarvia about blogging in her classroom.  She linked to a post on the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. This post tells about how Barbara Brown Taylor, the author of Leaving Church, was asked to speak on the question, "Tell us what is saving your life right now?"  I began thinking about my teaching life.

Many times it is easy to name what is killing our teaching lives.

For me this week, it was disrespectful students, crazy schedules, being spread too thin, and behavior issues. This was the root of my negativity at the end of Friday as a group of us sat at the end of the hall, thankful that the weekend had finally arrived.

But do we ever stop to think about what is saving our teaching lives?

That same day, after the hall became clear of students, we began talking about our weekend plans. I looked down the hall and saw someone walking toward us.

Although I couldn't clearly see him from that distance, I knew who this was. I would recognize that walk anywhere. I hollered out, "Is that you, Dante?"

"Yep, it's me, Mrs. Eck." he replied with a big ole smile on his face.

It was a former student, and I stood up gave him a big hug.  Dante and I have a history, a rocky history.  He is one of the students I had as a 4th grader and as a 6th grader after I moved to the middle school. He is one that has a special place in my heart.  It has been awhile since I have seen him, and he has changed, he has grown, and he has become a young man. We talked for several minutes, and as he hugged me goodbye, he told me how much he missed me.

I walked into a colleague's room and tried to hold myself together.  We were both holding back tears as we acknowledged the power of that epiphany.  How did he know I needed that moment?

We all have a Dante, a student who reminds us of why we became teachers and why we keep coming back, even after we have had a bad week.  As teachers, we know that relationships matter.  They matter every day, but sometimes they matter even more when we, as teachers, need them the most.

Right now, it is students like Dante who are saving my teaching life.

What's saving your teaching life right now?


  1. I love this question and how it took you to a place of realization and honor for yourself as a teacher. There are so many things out there poised to defeat us. We need each other, too. Your post did that for me this morning.

  2. Love the "Dante" moments! With so many snow and ice days, I feel that students are having a had time focusing on learning. Relationships with other teachers and students is what "carries" me through the rough patches. Thanks for sharing your words of encouragement this morning.

  3. We’ve had the same issue with the schedule, while I love a good snow day/ice day or 2 hr delay, they are hard on the kids stability. I’m definitely ready for winter to move on��

  4. This post is both personal and inspirational, Leigh Anne. I like the way you journeyed to your ending thought. What's saving my teaching life is the renewed spirit to engage teachers in finding their voices.

  5. Leigh Anne, thank you for sharing that. Relationships do matter. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher.