We, unfortunately, are unable to wash dishes and fold laundry while steaming the floor, or eat lunch while reading a book and driving. I have tried to do work and answer my own children's questions or handle their arguments, at the same time, but that, too, seems difficult! We are only human. That's what I am here to help you remember! Because although humans are very capable, we are only capable of so many things at once.
The same is true for us as educators, as we try to tackle too many aspects of teaching at once. I see it all the time, and I've done it myself. Teachers want to do it all. They want to be excellent math AND language arts teachers AND be great with incorporating technology AND....the list goes on. They want to see each and EVERY student succeed and meet all expectations. Every class. Every year. Sound familiar?
I am here to tell you, mere humans, that it is not possible. Maybe, by the end of your career, you will feel as though you've reached the pinnacle of teacher status. Perhaps by then, you will have reached all of your goals. But even if that is accomplished, I can bet it will not have been all at once. You will only get better at your craft a little bit at a time. And, even at the day of your retirement, there will still have been students who have not met grade-level expectations, or written the number of pages you were hoping for, or learned multiplication facts by the end of the year. And....THAT'S OK!
It is COMPLETELY ok that you did not reach every student every year. It is COMPLETELY ok if that one student is still struggling to want to write, or complete a chapter book, or get an A on their math test.
I know you want to try until it happens. I know you feel like you are failing when it doesn't. But listen-
Our job is to
show students we care.
meet them where they are
move them as much as possible
I was told in my early teaching career that I should choose one aspect of teaching to work on each year. Not five, not two, but one. Now, I realize that doesn't sound possible considering your school or district has it's own agenda that your are made to follow. However, when it comes to your OWN goals, that is where you have the power to choose.
One goal per year!
I also feel, that we need to consider this on a daily, and even lesson-by-lesson, basis. Remember that a struggling student is not going to go from barely writing anything to producing an on-level, several page piece of writing, or from reading one syllable words to scoring proficient on their 3rd grade state assessment.
One thing at a time! Even for our students.
One of my biggest struggles as a coach is keeping teachers to that one goal that they have chosen for our time together, because I understand that they want to do everything they can, and they don't want to fail their students. So they ask questions and want support on all the things with which they are struggling. However, just like they are only able to move one step at a time with their students, I am only able to help them move one step at time as well.
One thing. One goal. One strategy. One day. One class. One year at a time.