As we all gear up for this school year (and word on the street is some of you have already STARTED!), I think we need to take a moment and think some positive thoughts. Try to find something that will keep us motivated when times get tough (read: the classroom phone won't stop ringing, your friends are busy picking their noses and/or there's a last minute assembly and you're late).
Clearly, today I am feeling very zen.
But I know I'm right. Because no matter how difficult one day in our classroom is, we have to go back the next day and do it all over again. With a smile on our face.
Friends, I have found a bit of inspiration to help you smile when all you want to do is hide under the covers with a cocktail and perhaps burn your planner. Lucky for us, this inspiration comes straight from my internet BFF, Rebecca Branstetter (PhD - ha cha cha!) who writes the brilliant blog, Notes from the School Psychologist. And while her blog is also all sorts of wonderful, today I'm talking about something Rebecca has given us that we can take with us under the covers along with that cocktail.
Yes, girlfriend has written a book and it is fabulous.
The Teachable Moment is a collection of essays (edited by the wonderful Dr. Branstetter) written by real teachers about real moments that are not sugar coated or glossed up for the movies. (I'm looking at YOU Michelle Pfeiffer!)
This book begins with a wonderful introduction written by Rebecca herself. She very candidly tells us about one of her first (and most difficult) moments as a school psychologist. (Imagine telling a whole class of sixth graders that their friend's father has recently been shot and killed ANNNNDDD their teacher was arrested for sleeping with a student...yeah, THAT kind of difficult.) Armed mainly with good intentions and a whole lot of graduate school readings, Rebecca learns to seize the moment and take what could have been a disaster and turn it into a learning opportunity for herself and the children.
Now don't get it twisted. You know Mrs. Mimi is pretty anti-tying everything up with a neat little bow. But that's not what this book is about at all. As you continue to read these stories, written by real teachers far, far away from a Hollywood sound stage, you can hear the truth behind their words. You get sucked into the moments they cherish as the reasons why they continue to teach. And you feel inspired and ready to face another day.
With my love of Naughty Boys well established, you know I focused on stories of moments with this particular batch of challenging student. I read about Carlos and his teacher's struggle to get him to cut the comedy and recognize his own abilities. I read about Ryan, a child suffering from Fragile X syndrome who challenged his teacher in so many ways yet, many years later, thanked her for all her work in a way that brought tears to my eyes. And I read about Max. A little boy who actually BIT AN ADULT'S ANKLE, but still found a way to work his way into her heart.
Read them all at once, or save them to read one by one on the days when you really need a pick me up.
These are the real moments that make teaching worthwhile. (And, you'll notice that I contributed my own moment to this fab anthology! A never-been-told-before moment between me and my sweet little Muppet.)
How excited are you? I mean, are you grabbing your keys and running out the door to Barnsey yet?
Well, today is your lucky day!! YOU can enter to win a SIGNED copy of The Teachable Moment right here!!! (August just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?)
Three ways to enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post. Fabulousness welcome.
2. Scoot on over to Rebecca's blog, check it out, and then leave a comment HERE telling us what you love about her. (It will be hard to narrow down, I promise.)
3. Join the Notes From The School Psychologist Facebook fan page. Leave a comment on her wall or email me and tell me you've signed up for the fabulousness. (Remember, the comment/email part is required or else how am I supposed to know you've been over there??)
I'll put all your entries together, assign them a number and, using my trusty random number generator, I'll pick a winner. The contest starts TODAY and runs through Sunday, August 22nd. I'll announce the winner on the old blog on Monday, August 23rd!