Thoughts on education from the 2017 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. Let's build an public education system that ensures every student has a great education and equal opportunity to be happy and successful in life.
Friday's Five is a feature every week where I pick a new topic and list five items that I think fit best. Then I ask you to share your thoughts in the comment section. For an archive of past topics, check the Friday's Five Page.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In addition to spending the day with family, watching football, and my uncle's spicy sausage stuffing, I enjoy taking time to reflect on those people and circumstances that have helped me. There are many things that I am thankful in my personal life, but I'm going to focus here on people I am thankful for in my professional life as a teacher.
My former teachers - If the teachers that I had while I was growing up didn't foster a love of learning, I wouldn't be able to do the same for my students nearly as well. Often people will talk about that one teacher who had a great impact on them. I'm blessed to have had several "that one teachers."
My professional learning network (PLN) - I cannot say enough how important my PLN has become to me, or how appreciative I am that I have a group of people who are willing to share ideas, give me feedback on my own professional practices, support me in times of need, and discuss best teaching practices.
My colleagues - The people I work with are fantastic. Their commitment to the students and community in general inspires me on a daily basis. Working in an collaborative environment with people who I respect is a blessing.
My wife - I can't say enough about how appreciative I am that my wife is as understanding and supportive as she is (partially because she reads my posts). In all seriousness, both of us being teachers helps each understand the others frustrations and successes at work in a way that is difficult for others outside the profession. I wouldn't be nearly the teacher I am now without my wife.
My children - I am thankful for my children in many ways, but professionally they have also had a large impact on me. I now see my students differently than I did before I had children. I'm more empathetic because I can imagine my own children in similar situations. I also feel a sense of urgency to teach 21st century skills because I realize that my students will shape the world in which my children will live. On a more personal level, I am inspired by the amazing curiosity and love of learning that I see in both of my children. Seeing that makes me strive to inspire the same qualities in my students.
Now it's your turn. What are you thankful for? Who are the people that support and inspire you to be the person you are? Please share with us by leaving a comment below and share the post with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Plurk so that we can hear their points of view as well. Finally, I hope that my American readers had a happy Thanksgiving, and that all of you, regardless of where you live, experience the joy of appreciating others in your lives at this beginning of the holiday season.