Best Advice Ever Linky

When my friend Valerie over at Georgia Grown Kiddos mentioned wanting to do a "Best Advice Ever" linky, the first thing I thought of was the advice I got after I got married. You see, my husband and I met during Army training, knew each other just 3 weeks when he proposed, and got married the next weekend! I didn't tell most of my family until afterwards because I didn't want to hear what they would have to say. Sooooo, when I finally did tell them, the first thing almost everyone said was "Wait to get pregnant! Make sure the marriage will last before you bring a baby into it!" which of course, is really good advice. Unfortunately, I couldn't follow it, because I was already pregnant at that point - my daughter, Moira, is our "Honeymoon Oops Baby" lol! It all worked out in the end though - we're hitting our 17 year anniversary in September!

After I thought of that advice, Valerie mentioned that this linky is supposed to be teacher-related in some 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 have been times when I've looked at other teachers and thought "If she's still getting positive evaluations, what the heck am I working my butt off for?" But then I remind myself that it's not about getting a "4" on an evaluation form or a pat on the back, it's about my students. The only time I lose sleep at night is when I think about a time that I didn't give 110% for a student, when I took the easy way out rather than gave it my all. 

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!

1 Rustle Up A Response!:

Ms. Chrissy B said... Reply to comment

Excellent point! Comparison either makes you feel crummy or too confident! Every year, I try to do better than I did last year; that's a good way to grow!

Buzzing with Ms. B

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