Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Good vs. Great

What makes a good teacher?

What makes a great teacher?

What is the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher?

Which one am I?

These are questions that I seem to be coming back to time and time again this school year.

I am in the middle of probably the best teaching year I have had in the last 5 years.  Not saying that I haven't had great moments, but this is the first year in a while where I have felt very confident in what I am doing and optimistic about being in the classroom.  This is the first year in a long time, where I haven't already started a countdown for the summer.

I love teaching, I always have, but since having kids I have struggled to keep that love for the classroom.  The last few years I seemed focused more on the fact that I am spending more "awake" hours of the day with kids who are not mine, while my kids go to daycare.  I has been a struggle, one filled with guilt.  And the guilt doesn't stop with my own kids.  I felt guilty about not getting those tests graded right away and back to the students the next day.  I felt guilty for busting out of the school doors at 3:30.  And guilty about not spending any days in my classroom over the summer.

I am positive that I am not alone.  Many parents/teachers/workers go through these same emotions.

However, on the flip side of this whole internal conflict are the questions...

What is the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher?

Which one am I?

I know which one I want to be.  I want to be great.  I want to do great things all the time.  I want my students walking out of my classroom feeling like they had the best possible education of early American history that they could have had.  I want them excited to learn more.  I want to inspire future teachers.  I want to be GREAT.

But I also want to be a great mom.

And my heart sinks just a little, because I think I know the difference between "good" and "great."

Sacrifice.

When I think about the great teachers I had while in school and the great teachers who work in the rooms next to me, I know how they got that way.  Sacrifice.

Really, sacrifice is what makes anyone great.  The great athletes, philosophers and scientists, actors, and great moms all sacrifice something else so they can be great.  So they can focus on the things that need to be done to be great.  None of it happens by accident.

And I realize that my desire to be great at any one thing, right now, is impossible for me.  I am not willing to sacrifice my time with my children to be great in my classroom.  And (right now...) I don't want to sacrifice my teaching to be a stay at home mom.

So for now, I will have to be OK with being good.  A good teacher who does some great things now and then, and a good mom who does some great things with her kids.

And I feel great about that!

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