I am not perfect: and today, I mean specifically the teacher-me is not perfect. There are so many things that I should do, that I don't. One of the traits of many good teachers is our need to tweak our lessons, to reflect on the little details that made it work, to always assume that we can do it better next time. And I sure could spend more time organizing and adminstrating myself! But my career began in marketing and public relations, not teaching, so I also see so many paths for myself as a teacher. I could use Twitter more efficiently as a tool to bring readers to my blog. I could blog topics that I know are hot buttons for my tweeps and colleagues. I could use my blog to outline chapters on the book I should be writing about about my teaching adventures. The list goes on and on.
And then I just read Richard Byrnes' article in the School Library Journal (saw it on twitter) and it was great. I LOVE to see these young teachers synthesize all they learn so quickly and use it for their students and then give it to us as well. And there go the " I SHOULDs" again. I know my strengths in the classroom, and I have seen my enthusiasm spark my colleagues (some of the time. Most of the time they wonder why I care about all this "tech" stuff). So I could feel guilty, trying not to grab my phone and tweet my improvements as I drive home (I don't do this, but I think about doing it EVERY DAY. It never gets easier). I could be using my ever racing mind to write the stream of consciousness novel in my head, though as time goes on I am not sure it is a novel; I think it might be some genre without a name yet.
BUT...then I remember that all the time reading Twitter and retweeting things I should have said myself (or did), or reading someone else's blog, or cruising that never-ending thread on the EC Ning about books that English teachers love to hate (quite enjoyable, really), means that I am forgetting for a moment my own genius. And it is genius.
To sit in a circle with 10 young people who think they know exactly what you think they should think, and to throw out an idea that stops them short, THAT rocks. Because you're a teacher, and you know that in the next breath, they are all going to start talking and throwing it right back at you, and it will be better than you imagined and those light bulbs showing up over their heads sends chills down your spine--not because they have figured you out, but because they have figured themselves out. Sometimes they won't tell you, but you can see it happen anyway. And all the followers on a blog or direct responses to a tweet cannot compare to how good that feels. It even feels good to bring someone down a notch, gently, so they can get out of their own way. And that has already happened this year too. Kids sign up for my classes when they get the choice because I read and I love it, and I teach and I love it. My genius? I make sure they know that loving books and loving them is as good as anybody ever gets it.