Welcome to my twice-monthly feature about anthems, the songs that inspire us. You can listen to the songs on my Spotify playlist, Carry A Watermelon Anthems. New Anthems will be posted here the 1st and 15th of each month.
Well, this month it’s the 18th because I’m a teacher and it’s mid-June and it was time to…
Now that all of my scores are in and for the first day in since September, I don’t have a looming deadline (writing or teaching), I can reflect. I’ve been in the biz for about 17 years and so each year brings different life lessons, different joys, different sorrows, different relationships, different discoveries.
Some years, we expect this:
And often get this:
Don’t misunderstand me – I wouldn’t change my experience for anything. I work at an innovative, amazing school with some of the best people around. But it was also a very hard year personally, so changing jobs is stressful enough, but add the mix of deaths of three people I love very much and two people I love very much having near-death experiences, it’s been a ride.
Also, I am the teacher who gets hugs and letters and drawings that say, “Thank you so much for pushing me, Ms. Harlen. You can be hard because you really care about us.”
I wish they’d figured that out a little earlier this year…but the good news is I’ll teach the same students next year. We’ve all learned from each other; I’m a better teacher and person because of what I’ve learned from them and my colleagues.
So fellow teachers, when you are feeling beat down by by all the things, stay true to yourself and who you are.
That’s how I got by this year.
I am a teacher with a huge, generous heart, with clear expectations and big dreams for my students. My general rules:
Be safe, be respectful, and try.
But sometimes, this is a lot for teenagers, especially those working through trauma. The push-back can be immense, but I know that who I am makes me a damn good teacher. So the words of a wise 21st century philosopher, “Baby, you were born this way!” helped me stay the course.
HAPPY SUMMER! HIGH FIVE!
Don’t forget to follow Carry A Watermelon Anthems on Spotify to hear this Anthem and a playlist of additional inspiring songs from other posts.