3 Things Teachers Can Always Be Thankful For

by Guy E. White on 18 December, 2014

No matter what, you’ll always have these.

Teaching is hard. It can be like being the captain of a ship full of mutineers. It can be like having a room full of willing artists without having any art supplies. Regardless, you’ll always have these to be thankful for.

I love teaching, though it’s the toughest job I’ve ever had. There is no hiding as a teacher: you have sixty or so eyeballs always looking at you.

It’s hard to admit, but I’ve had my ups and downs as an educator. I’ve been enthralled and excited to be in my classroom. Other times, it’s hard to even be in the room for a few minutes.

Fortunately, the bad times are largely past, because I’ve been able to remember the following grounding statements. Each is something for which I can be immensely grateful as an educator. As you read each, consider if it strikes you as true or false. Let me know what you feel about these.

Thankful Truth #1 – “As a teacher, I’m changing the lives of generations of others.”

Everything I do as a teacher will have an impact in the future for each of these students. Everything that we do together will produce something in the future for the student and for that student’s children and on and on.


When days are hard, I always try to remember this: I’m not teaching one student, I’m teaching the hundreds (or thousands) of people connected to this student now and in the future.

Thankful Truth #2 – “They can’t defund my creativity and inspiration.”

Change is a natural part of life—and a frequent, naturally occurring part of life as an educator. I’ve had the opportunity to lead or take part in many programs that inevitably were defunded, reprioritized, or otherwise canceled. Often, my reaction to such changes always began with anger and confusion.

Now, I always try to remember that no matter what, it’s the spirit that I bring to my work that matters much more than the venue and tools of my work.

Thankful Truth #3 – “My standards are always higher than ‘the Standards’.”

In times of change, the rules change. The way we measure our success as educators and learners changes. We are always learning, and the unsettling moments of change feel like they can remove the very ground below us.

No matter what, what I’m trying to build with my students is the stuff of a legacy. We’ll work within the standards, but we’re going to build something even grander along the way: a relationship as educator and student that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Though our time learning together will be short, the impact will be life-long and beyond.

That’s the standard to which I want to always appeal: I’m building something befitting a legacy of an educator.

What do you feel about these? What would you add? Let me know!

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