We Journey Together

By: Amber Chandler

So, here's the thing. I love the idea of an ongoing conversation with teachers across all sorts of platforms. I love that my network of educator friends spans those who are still getting their certification, some who are in their first few years, others who are in the thick of their career like me (just finished 21 years!), and those who are just retiring.

This blog about what teachers want to remember from this past school year highlights how very diverse our experiences are yet reminds us that we are all in this very important journey together. It comes down to this: we love our students, each other, and the amazing sense of purpose we are lucky enough to share.

Our Kiddos

Heidi was my son's fifth grade teacher, and she's my elementary teacher soul-sister. Case in point: She had received a thank you note from an eighth grader, texted me to find out who I thought would know the girl so she could write her a thank you note back, only to find out that the thank you project was from my class! Only a teacher would write a thank you note to a student for writing us a thank you note.

I love this next response for what she says, but even more so because of how I "know" Michelle. Michelle is a colleague of one of my former students, Holly, who grew up to be a math teacher. Holly introduced us, and now Michelle is joining my summer school staff! Keep reading for Holly's answer to this question.

This is my principal riding the infamously steep roller coaster at Darien Lake. I love that she wanted to ride with him, and it is awesome that I have a leader who recognizes the value of an entire eighth grade field trip for students and teachers!

Our Friendships

Not every year is easy, and we all experience personal and professional hardships through the years, but it was immediately obvious from all the responses that we take care of each other. Shannon says it best below when she says "work family."

Jordan isn't a new teacher but taking on a brand new job can be daunting. It is always the people we work with that can make all the difference. If you think of the hundreds of unwritten rules teachers find upon their arrival in a new building, it is crucial to find our tribe.

Lori retired this year, and it is at those times of reflection that we remember how important we are to each other. This is so important for us to remember all the time, not just when we get to start sleeping in and going to the bathroom whenever we want!

Lisa is switching buildings, and when you leave your "roommate" it can certainly feel like moving out of our home. I love that Lisa talks about growing into who she is as a teacher. We're all on a journey and recognizing that is a part of what makes this a special profession.

Our Sense of Purpose

Denise retired this year, and her words of wisdom resonate with all of us. I love that our profession has such a clear "why" to it, and I feel incredibly privileged to know that I make a difference. Those of us who haven't had other jobs often forget that lots of other people go to work simply to pay the bills. It makes me thrilled to have chosen so well!

Not only are we champions, but I love the recognition that we have social and emotional responsibilities to the humans left in our care. I won't take credit for Holly's words, even though I was her fabulous eighth grade teacher, but I wholeheartedly agree.

Finally, I loved that Lori realizes that our students come to us with so much baggage that it is a wonder they make it to us at all. It is sometimes easy to forget with all our mandates, testing requirements, and curriculum to cover, but we have a calling, and that is to be the person a child comes to school to see.

This was such a fun way to see what other educators had to say as they reflected on the past year. I hope you enjoyed their responses as much as I did. The insights here are plenty to shore us up for summer. Follow me @MsAmberChandler and use #AMLE to join our cross-platform conversation. Also, subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on the topics we're discussing. The question this month is: How are you growing professionally this summer? Who are you reading? Where are you traveling? How are you relaxing? Thanks for your contributions!

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15 comments on article "We Journey Together"

Thanks for capturing the ‘moments’ middle school advocates recognize... the heart of ‘it’ and ‘them’...

I have read lots of posts talking about how to take care of our selves and others this summer. It is a luxury we all must find...even if it is taking a moment to appreciate nature or read a book. I have read Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades by Bishop, Downs, and Farber...an awesome resource!!

7/15/2019 7:17 PM

I love the fact that you use the word "luxury," as that is exactly how so many of us treat self-care and down time. You are spot on that we must find time for the "luxury"to refresh us.

Rita Platt has just come out with a new book that is also a great resource. It is called Working Hard, Working Happy.

7/25/2019 9:25 PM

Thank you for sharing these short special stories. I loved the post the "be a child's champion". It is so powerful to think about. We really may be the only people cheering for them. As an educator we wear many hats. We must make sure to allow every student to feel like a champion, and realize that we are in their corner as their biggest cheerleaders.

It is important to always go back to the roots of our "why" for becoming a teacher. I know for me it was not the lesson planning, the test scores, or even the fun activities I plan, but it was to make students feel special every day. To help children love to learn and love to come to school each day. I know as teachers we wear a lot of hats and have a lot on our plate, but coming back to the "why" is so important.

11/10/2019 4:17 PM

The main reason that I wanted to be in the education pathway was because I wanted to see the growth in the kids. Throughout my college journey I lost my inspiration of becoming a teacher. I often questioned why I was pursing an education in education. Fortunately, I have rediscovered that passion. Reading this blog makes me proud to become a teacher. I see the impact that not only the teachers are making on the students, but the impact the students are making on the teachers.

I also enjoyed seeing how close teachers are with each other in your blog. Full collaboration with other teachers benefits the students entirely. We have to remember that it's all for the students.

12/5/2019 1:18 PM

Talking with teachers is awesome! I like how insightful and nice they are by giving pointers, sparking ideas, being supportive, and sharing whatever they can. I am a student teacher and having as much help is a great way for me to build my library of resources. Every teacher I have worked with has given me resources and support as much as possible. Writing a thank you note is awesome. I feel like not a lot of people really say "thank you" that much and we should promote this as much as possible.

12/8/2019 1:13 AM

First and foremost, to use Facebook replies in your blog to get a number of real-teacher-responses is such a cool idea. Secondly, some of what these seasoned-veteran teachers had to say resonates with me incredibly. As a very, very new English teacher, seeing extremely positive comments about students like Denise's response about being "a Child's Champion." I mean, wow. I want to get that framed. Thank you.

12/8/2019 1:52 PM

Talking with other teachers in the profession is great! This blog was a great and modern look at the relationships we form and can form during our time as a teacher.

12/8/2019 10:59 PM

The idea of "We Journey Together" I love, especially in the pandemic we are in now. Making sure all of us teachers are okay, our students, and especially our students parents/gurdians are okay is very important in general, but especially during this time specifically.

3/30/2020 3:12 PM

I love the name of this “We journey together”! Teaching is a passion, and when you let yourself become a community of teachers that care about that their students and put everything into becoming effective teachers! Being a community of teachers helps with how you teach, being able to lean on each other for support. Collaborating together also gives your students respect and since of communities as students.

4/21/2020 6:27 PM

"We Journey Together" could not be a more appropriate title for this blog post for many, many reasons! First, I think the title encompasses the very basis of teaching: accomplishing milestones as a group. You are very much on this education journey with your students and with your colleagues as well. Also, teaching, especially in middle grades, is such a collaborative art. Cohesive planning among educators can make tremendous differences in student learning.

4/21/2020 11:14 PM

I enjoyed the idea that teachers should connect with one another. The best schools I have seen are ones in which the teachers are a team and they help each other push the students to the best of their abilities. It is great that teachers can bounce ideas off of one another. Also connecting with students and building relationships is the key to success as a teacher. I believe that it takes a team to succeed in the classroom as well as in life.

4/26/2020 5:16 PM

This blog "We Journey Together" is so heart warming and makes me feel so excited to experience this myself. I want to experience all the goods times and the bad times with my students each year. I am wanting to see them grow and gain more confidence through each day. I loved the comment on facebook "Be a child's champion" I want to be the person cheering them one even if I can the only one that is cheering them on!

4/27/2020 11:20 PM

Having relationships with other teachers really makes everything we do seem more real. Telling stories of students and watching them grow is one of the many joys of teaching. Having wonderful co-workers keeps us going and motivated all year long. What a great testimonial to why a team atmosphere is so important in the school.

4/28/2020 4:36 PM

I love the name of this “We journey together”! Teaching is a passion, and when you let yourself become a community of teachers that care about that their students and put everything into becoming effective teachers! Being a community of teachers helps with how you teach, being able to lean on each other for support. Collaborating together also gives your students respect and since of communities as students.

12/2/2020 10:49 AM

I loved reading through this blog! It is so great to see such a strong and close community of educators. I can't wait to get into my future classroom and be able to appreciate and envy the teachers around me. Having my own students and the impact on me will last forever, but the fact that I can have that impact with such a supportive community is even better. Another benefit to having a great team of teachers is all the amazing work that can happen inside the classroom.

12/5/2020 1:07 AM

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