Speaking of Thanksgiving, I have had the privilege of working in and studying in my fair share of schools, and in each school, I've had something to be thankful for.
- As a student, I went to a high school that was so old, the first person to walk into homeroom every morning was responsible for reaching their hand in a boiling hot radiator to flip a switch that would turn on a blower to get the classroom warm. Equipment was old, floors were creaky, and there was always this musty smell... However, I was thankful for the experiences I had as a student there. I never really thought about the environment so much as I thought of the teachers who helped to shape who I am. They accomplished so much in spite of their environment.
- I chose to spend my college years in an urban university in a southern state. Having grown up up in a sleepy New England suburb, it was certainly an eye-opening and life-changing experience for me. It is an experience I am thankful for because it has allowed me to look at the world from a variety of different lenses.
- As a teacher, I was thankful to have a classroom that was well equipped with a supportive administrative team. I never had to teach "a la cart" and I rarely had to give up my instructional time in lieu of assemblies, testing, or extra remediation time. I'm also thankful for the incredibly knowledgable and supportive mentors who have helped me become the educator I am today.
- As an administrator, I am thankful for the diverse learning environments I have had the privilege of working in. I have learned just as much working in a school that serves an affluent community as I've leaned working in an at risk community. Every single staff member I've worked alongside has been amazing in their own way, and I've learned from every one of them. Bottom line? Every school has its challenges, and they all provide opportunities to learn and grow.
As time progresses, the craft of teaching and learning has not become easier, and it is not going to. We as educators did not enter this profession because it was going to be easy. We chose this profession to make a difference. In this season of giving, be sure to take some time to reflect on all that you are thankful for. Being thankful can actually be a pretty empowering experience...if you let it.