The Difference Between Average and Amazing Teachers

August 10, 2015

Today, I’m heading back to school.

In another week, the kids will show up, and until they do, teachers around the country will try to get ready. We will clean and decorate classrooms. We will make nametags. We will hang posters. If kids have elaborate first-day-of-school rituals, then teachers, even more so.

I have been having first days of school, practically my entire life, and really the excitement never stops. I know parents are excited to get the kids back in school. But my excitement is different. It’s not a relief that the summer is finally over. As teachers, we have the unique perspective of a fresh start every year. I think I’m actually more excited about this school year than I have been in the last couple of years.

As a teacher, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to teach my students. I think about the lessons I want to give my high schoolers and the projects I want to do with my younger kids. I think about the Art Show in the Spring.

But what I really spend time thinking about, what actually keeps me from sleeping the night before the first day of school, is thinking about how I’m going to teach the really important stuff to the kids.

How am I going to show them my passion for teaching and learning?

How am I going to show them my passion for them?

How am I going to share my heart with them?

I have had a lot of teachers. But the ones I remember the most weren’t the ones who got through the curriculum with time to spare in the Spring. They aren’t the teachers who let us watch movies on Fridays.

The teachers I remember most were the ones who took chances to share their hearts with us as students. They told us what was really important. Some of those moments were probably carefully planned. Some of them were spontaneous.

The thing is, you don’t have to be a teacher to give that to a child. We all have ways we can invest in the children around us. Not everyone is called to teach vocationally. But all of us can teach.

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All it takes is an open and honest heart.