After I thought of that advice, Valerie mentioned that this linky is supposed to be teacher-related in some way.....so I was back to square one. So I thought about all the advice I have been given throughout my career. Then I thought about the advice I would give to new teachers in my building. It was hard to decide on what was the "best" advice - there are so many great tips out there! But then I realized that one of the things that I'm still working on would probably be the Best Advice Ever for others as well....ready for it?
"Don't compare yourself to other teachers; just be the best teacher you can be."
This is my best advice for 2 reasons:
1.) If you compare yourself to another teacher who you think is doing better than you, you may become depressed and discouraged. When she has the Pinterest-Worthy bulletin boards each month and you can barely manage to get papers returned in a timely manner, it can make you question everything about yourself. But you have to remember, that everyone has different challenges, different priorities, and just because the grass looks greener, doesn't always mean that students are getting a better education! Be true to who you are, set your own priorities and do the best you can for your students. You don't have to run yourself to exhaustion to keep up with someone else nor do you have to beat yourself up about not being as good as someone else.
One of my good teacher buddies is a craft wizard. She can whip up a bulletin board in 10 minutes that looks like it should be in a magazine! When we do our Genre Parade each year she's the one who has every kid in a homemade (by her) costume, pulling a float down the hall that looks like it could be in a Macy's Parade. Meanwhile I'm the queen of Pinterest-Fails and have to bribe my 16 year old to come help me set up my bulletin boards so it doesn't look like a two year old did it. (Thankfully she works for chocolate - otherwise I'd be broke!) The point is though, that I'm doing the best I can for my students, regardless of whether it'll go viral on Pinterest or not. Crafting is not my strength, so instead of comparing myself to her, I ask her for help when I need something crafty. In return, I set up her SmartBoard or get her logged back into her email, because she's not technologically-savvy. Instead of comparing, we collaborate, and all of our students benefit!
2.) The other reason not to compare yourself to other teachers is that if you set the bar by the teachers you see around you, you could be setting it too low. If you're only doing better than the teacher down the hall, are you truly doing your best? Honestly, there are some teachers out there - probably in your own building - that you KNOW aren't doing their jobs well. And if you're comparing yourself to them, you could be tempted to pat yourself on the back. Instead, ask yourself "Am I doing the right thing for each of my students? Am I teaching every lesson to the best of my abilities? Am I doing the best possible job I can?" It's not enough to be a mediocre teacher and be better than the bare minimum, instead, you should think of the old Army logo "Be the best that you can be!"
There you go, something to think about for the new school year! Be sure you check out the other blogs in the linky - they all have great advice too!