The month of November is a time for counting our blessings and showing gratitude. We recognize the many soldiers who serve or have served our country on Veteran’s Day in November. We gather together with friends and family on Thanksgiving in November. November is truly a special month of the year where we celebrate and honor those who have secured our freedoms and established the traditions that we carry on today to show our thankfulness.
As I traveled home from the State Teacher Forum this past week feeling energized and grateful for the opportunity to meet so many amazing educators, I found my focus starting to shift the further away I traveled. I began to think about all of the deadlines and paperwork that I would need to complete over the next few months. I began to think about my students, my lesson plans, and all of the upcoming events in my classroom and school. I thought about my blog post I hadn’t done yet (yes, this one). Thought after thought kept running through my mind and all of the positivity and gratefulness I felt earlier that day, was slowly starting to be pushed out of mind and replaced with stress and an overwhelming feeling.
Being a teacher is a hard job. It sometimes comes with very little affirmation and it is all too easy to get caught up in the little things that we miss moments of celebration. Now I’m not saying that we don’t have some big problems in the education field, because we all know that is not true. There are issues with equality, standardized testing, teacher pay, and the list goes on and on. Problems and struggles are always present and we can let them divide us or unite us. How we choose to address these struggles is a true measure of our character and can pave the way for a “road trip” headed toward disdain or thankfulness.
My time collaborating with other teachers at the State Forum is an experience I never will forget. I left feeling purposeful, appreciated, and connected and despite the moments of doubt and frustration that began to creep into my mind, I was able to shift my view back to one of thankfulness. Every day is a new day to seek out opportunities to grow and approach the unknown with gratitude. We need to recognize our blessings and that our strength truly lies in one another. We need to open the doors to our classrooms and work together as only then can we be true advocates for change.
In the words of Albert Schweitzer, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
Thankfulness shouldn’t just be a huge part of November, it should be a HUGE part of our everyday lives.