It's back to school time here. Teachers and kids are headed back to the classroom this week!
As I think about teachers and a new year, I think about my four-year-old friend from VBS this summer. He told me on the last day: "You are the best Mr. Scott ever!"
That's what I want to be - the best Mr. Scott ever - the best I can be as a teacher.
Too often we teachers fall into the comparison game. "My room doesn't look like hers." "His kids are so much quieter walking in the hall." "Her kids are all learning faster than my class."
This is a dangerous game. I know. I've done it. I still do it from time to time.
But guess what? I shouldn't try to beat someone at their game. I should be the best teacher I can be. That means being the teacher that meets my personality and skills.
I am not a decorating teacher. My room will never have color-coordinated borders and signs and chair pockets. It's not me. (If that's you, great!) My room is usually much more low-key and will feature kids' work or charts we've made or other related things.
My room is usually a little noisy and a little messy. We sometimes have dance breaks. We'll read a book together from a Web site. We may do things in a little crazy way.
But that's me.
I don't need to try and be like someone else. I can learn from other teachers and gain valuable ideas. I can also choose to do something in a completely different way.
And what's interesting in all this. I never expect the other teachers to be like me. I don't expect teachers to have a dance party in the middle of math time.
But I often chastise myself for not being like them. Crazy, huh?
So this new school year, plan to give yourself a break. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know at the time.
Care about the children. Look for ways to put their needs first. (Yes, even ahead of those standards!)
In a month or a semester or a year, compare yourself to who you were. Are you growing as a teacher? Are you learning new things? Is today better than yesterday?
That's how you win the comparison game.