Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Find Your Inner "Can-DO Warrior": Start YOUR Courageous Journey Today.....

I am one of those people who genuinely loves life and tends to see the glass as half full. Always. Yes, sometimes, I can be annoyingly cheerful and happy. But am I apologizing for this mindset? Sorry, but no.

I think one of the reasons my students are drawn to me is because I never appear to have a bad day. I tend to approach every day as a new opportunity for learning, growth, productivity, and happiness. Every day, I have a new chance to make my students' day a little bit brighter and a little more manageable. Every day, I strive to give 150% of myself into my lessons for my students because after all, they deserve it.

I have not always been naturally happy, though. In high school, I struggled with multiple bouts of clinical depression, much of which was hormonally based. As an overachieving perfectionist, that first B+ I received in Honors Chemistry sophomore year seemed like the biggest failure. Boy, did I have a lot to learn then! Gradually, thanks to the endless support of my parents, family, and friends (not to mention my therapy and medication), I would bounce back and once again emerge with a smile and the courage needed to move forward. The same pattern happened for me sophomore year in college and then again while teaching abroad in China in 2005.

While I certainly blame no one for my depression, I have found that overcoming it has made me a much stronger person able to handle whatever life throws my way, be it my mother's multiple-cancer fights, her struggle with multiple sclerosis, or my godmother's death to cancer in 2010. Life has not been easy or predictable, but my positive attitude and optimism allow me to see the light at the end of every tunnel, regardless how never-ending or dark it may seem.

As a teacher, I am happiest when I can fully pursue passions outside of the classroom that allow me to explore my hobbies, interests, and talents. Resuming singing in a semi-professional setting this year was an excellent way for me to re-introduce music into my life. Volunteering with my alumnae sorority, church, and other local organizations brings me happiness and fulfillment. Bikram yoga brings me a sense of calm, stillness (nearly impossible for me!), and inner peace. My husband and close friends bring me boundless joy, love, and laughs. And, of course, running is often my biggest stress reliever of all, providing me with the freedom for "me" time and the space to explore the physical world around me.

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to run my 19th lifetime marathon in my 11th state when running the Houston Marathon. Unlike my other 18 marathons, I came to this start line completely unprepared and untrained for what lie ahead. In fact, I had not done more than a 7 mile training run since running the NYC Marathon in November. Much of my attention had been to Bikram yoga since that race. For the first time, I did not know what to expect or if I should even attempt all 26.2 miles with so little training. I vowed to make the most of the opportunity, smile, take one mile at a time, and try to enjoy the journey. And did I ever.

Even though I finished almost one hour slower than my PR and ran my slowest marathon ever, I was amazed at the peace I found during the race as I talked to fellow runners from around the country with similar goals and aspirations. I even shook hands with an eight year old girl who gave me a Twizzler and told her Mommy she wanted to be a runner like me when she grew up. I pet countless dogs' heads. I cheered on a determined wheelchair runner. I met a man who loyally pushes his mentally and physically impaired daughter in a stroller every race he runs. I braved on-and-off-again rain showers (Thankfully, no thunder or lightning!). I even enjoyed a partial beer at mile 21 and used several port-a-potties. Over four and a half hours after after I started, I sprinted to the finish in one piece and somehow become whole once again.

An afternoon, three hour plane ride, and long drive back to a colleague's house later, I passed out after 1:30 a.m. At school yesterday morning, I wore my medal and finisher's shirt proudly. Inevitably, my students asked if I won. "Yes," I said sarcastically, "didn't you know I am an elite Kenyan runner?" I'd smile and then look up at a favorite magnet that hangs on my chalkboard by John J. Bingham:

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the Courage to Start."

And that, my friends, is the "can-do warrior mentality" I try to transmit to my kids within the magical four walls of my classroom every day. I encourage you to take this journey to find yourself through what you love. Sometimes, all you need is a little hope and optimism. And in the end, you never know where your journey might take you....


  1. What fun to read your blog post this morning, Kay! Thanks for posting the link on Facebook~


  2. Hi, Kay~

    This comment isn't intended as a public one; I just wanted to let you know that I had trouble leaving a comment before due to the way that the drop-down comment ID box functions. As none of the 5 drop-down options are options for me (LiveJournal, etc.), literally the only way I could comment was to use my Google ID. Unfortunately, that one is tied irrevocably to an old blogspot site that was tranferred over years ago to my current site ( So the link in my name on all comments I leave, if clicked on, leads straight back to a years-out-of-date blogspot address.

    Is this a blogspot technical issue, or might there be a way for an option to be added to the drop-down box for commentors as either OpenURL (people type in the address they're linked to) or Anonymous (people just type in their name on the bottom of the comment like I did in my prior comment, but there is no "live" link on an anonymous comment).

    Does that make sense? If it doesn't work to add an "open URL" comment option, no worries---but I find that if I only have the option of leaving a comment as a Google account holder, I usually won't leave a comment at all, because the link just leads back to an old "dummy" site of mine, as I mentioned prior.

    No need to publish this comment---I just wanted to make you aware of the possible comment ID issue, and I wasn't sure what your "contact me at" info was, so I used the "comment" option instead.

    Kudos on your blog! I'm really enjoying reading it~~