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Ignore Those Teachers – Focus on the Students

Hello again,

I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine who was beginning her first year as a teacher.

Her name is Isabel.

I know when she told me she got the job, she was so happy. She was nervous and even a little afraid, but excited about beginning her career as a classroom teacher. I was happy for her.

When I spoke to her recently, however, she was feeling pretty down.

She has always been an organized person. (Way more organized than me.)

So, for her first week, she had prepared very detailed and organized lesson plans, wanting to be very prepared for her students. She also had to turn in a copy of her plans every week to her principal.

She showed her plans to her fellow teachers, and instead of complimenting her on her thoroughness in lesson planning, they complained that it was too detailed, and they were hoping that the principal would not expect the same kind of lesson plan from them.

She was feeling a bit deflated, and for a new teacher this can be devastating.

You want to fit in. You want to impress. You want to be liked by your new colleagues.

Instead, Isabel was questioning her decision to be excellent.

I was mad.

I was mad at those teachers who were more interested in preserving their own mediocrity than in doing what is best for students.

I told Isabel to ignore those teachers and focus on the students.

Do what is best for students, even if you have to do it alone.

I know it’s easy for me to say. I don’t have to work with those teachers.

Unfortunately, I have seen it so many times before. Instead of enthusiastic save-the-world teachers bringing mediocre teachers up, the opposite happens.

These once high-energy, do-anything-for-kids, make-a-difference-every-day, new teachers are transformed into  do-the-minimum, complain-about-everything, blame-the-kids, unremarkable teachers.

I don’t believe this will happen to Isabel.

I’ll be keeping in contact with her throughout the year.

I’ll be reminding her to do the following:

1. Focus on doing the best for kids.

2. Remind each student that he/she has value.

3. Keep in contact with parents.

4. Make excellent lesson plans.

5. Keep a journal.

6. Keep learning.

7. Smile often.

8. Make time to relax.

9. Take risks with lessons.

10. Ignore the mediocrity of others.

Anything else?

I know Isabel is going to do great. She will be the best teacher her students ever had.  Her school is blessed to have her on staff, because I know she will do what’s best for her kids.



Can I ask a favor?

Will you please send some encouraging words to Isabel either in the comment box below, via Twitter or on the SITC Facebook page?

I’m sure she would appreciate it.

Via Twitter, you can Tweet Isabel by leaving a message here on the SITC Twitter Page.

Or you can send Isabel a message on the SITC Facebook page here.

Thank you in advance for helping Isabel.

Until next time,

Here’s to your Success in the Classroom!





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  1. Julie Quah's Gravatar Julie Quah
    August 28, 2013    

    Dear Isabel,
    I am a Lead Teacher from Singapore. I can empathize with your concerns of other teachers’ displeasure of your “setting high standard” , as i work a lot with beginning teachers over my side of the world. It is great that you have started being highly organized. It helps to be more prepared than never. Stay strong and do not let the mediocre hold you back.
    Enjoy your teaching. It is a journey that can bring great joy and pain. Focus on the joy, and seek help when the pain is a little overwhelming.

    • Sam's Gravatar Sam
      August 28, 2013    

      Thank you Julie for your comment. I will let Isabel know. I’m sure she will appreciate your words of encouragement.

  2. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    August 30, 2013    

    I, too, have been criticized by other teachers for “working too hard.” But I also have colleagues who put in just as much time and effort as I do, and have the same passion I have for teaching. This is my 19th year of teaching, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. Isabel, believe in yourself and your passion–your students will gain so much more because of it!

    • Sam's Gravatar Sam
      August 30, 2013    

      Thank you for the comment Amy. I’ve shared it with Isabel. She appreciates your encouraging message.

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