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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3 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!!

—Nancy
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.

—Amber
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.

—Katy
11/10/2019 4:17 PM

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