You may have noticed this post on Facebook Page recently. (If not, feel free to like our page. We would love for you to join us!)

One of the comments really made me think.

"This is supposed to be encouraging...but I feel that it’s most truly an indictment on our society!" - Dan

I hear what this reader is saying and yet I respectfully disagree.

Encouragement

So I'd like to start with the fact that I don't often mention the politics on my blog or my Facebook page not because I want to ignore them or pretend like they're not there, but because I want this to be a place of encouragement and I know that you already know all of these things.

I want my blog and my Facebook page and my Twitter feed to all inspire and give you lesson plans, and teaching strategies that will help encourage you in your classroom and this quote is there for the same reason. I know that when I personally and feeling a little beat up by the media or the administrator or whatever obstacle is in my way, focusing on others that need me and that I can lift up often will bring me out of that feeling of being in the dumps.

So in sharing this, I'm not trying to make you feel hopeless on the state of homes or parenting, but help you shift your focus to those kids that need you. Because in the end, that's why we all got into this profession. If I asked a hundred teachers why they started this journey, 99 would say to affect or to change a child's life. And that's why I love working with teachers.

A Little About My Story

A little about my story. My story growing up is wonderful. I lived in a beautiful neighborhood surrounded by state land and kids to play with and a lot of capture the flag. My parents love me very much, and I was never in need of a relative. But in school, we moved from one district to another, and they were not lined up. In math I did okay, but in reading and spelling, I was far behind and always felt I would never catch up.

I was always in the lowest reading group. It does not matter how they name them you always know when you're in the lowest reading group, and my confidence wavered.

While my parents encouraged me a lot, it wasn't until I met Ms. McConnell in 11th grade that my view of myself changed. In pre-college composition, she taught me that I could write. She taught me that I could spell. She showed me that I had a lot to say. And so yes, even on her worst day she was my hope, and I know that because of her I had the confidence to start this blog years ago.

Math

And in my senior math class with Mr. Allen, I learned that he pushed us so hard because he believed in us. During the last semester at my high school, Mr. Allen always pulled us aside one by one to talk about our futures. He asked us about the college we would attend. (As an Ohio State graduate, he did not approve of my decision to go to Michigan State.)

And he asked why we were going to school. As the first person in my family to go to college, I was nervous and so scared. I told him I wanted to be a math teacher and I remember my innocent voice asking him if he thought I had what it would take.

His answer, “Jeanette, you have what it takes to be anything you want to be.” As he looked me in the eyes, I knew he believed it.

And so yes, even if his world was falling apart, he was my hope.

Best Hope

So my words to you… Sometimes the best hope is a call to Child Protective Services, or an apple because they didn’t get breakfast. But other times the best hope is a belief in their potential or a kind (or stern) word of encouragement.

Whatever your students need today, go after it. This is why we started this crazy teaching journey. Isn’t it?

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