An Instructional Coach’s Thoughts on Graduation

It goes without saying: Graduation is one of the times when all teacher hearts are happy.  Even the teacher down the hall that spent the entire year griping about students shirts being untucked or kids never doing their homework seems to find a reason to smile during graduation.  When you look up at the stage, even the administrator with her head in her laptop the whole year is looking students in the eye and smiling ear to ear as she hands out diplomas.  When you look to your left, you see that the struggling first-year teacher has a tear rolling down her cheek as she finds solace watching her most challenging student cross the stage.  You turn around and hear the bull horns blowing, the hands clapping, and you feel the pride swell from all of the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas of the graduates.  

Well, that’s what I experienced a few weeks ago.  Some of you might be saying, “What about the students?  Why aren’t you telling me about all of their accomplishments, all of their inspirational stories?”  Yes, of course the students are the stars, but since I’ve become an Instructional Coach, I’ve started to really notice all the behind the scenes.  I’m no longer feeling the burn in my calves from days of teaching and I’m no longer knee-deep in grading essays.  I’m just outside of it.  Now, I see the blood, sweat, and tears of my school community from a different angle.  

So, what has this new point of view taught me?  It’s taught me something I already knew, but that is easy to forget: every teacher heart can be filled.  Even when a teacher has a bad day and feels like giving up, that same teacher will have moments of joy and pride that no other profession can understand.  It’s taught me that in order to survive in education, we all must hold on to little bits of that giddy graduation feeling throughout the year.  And in order to transform education, we must remind each other of that graduation feeling when times get hard.  We must not forget to look at the reason why we’ve chosen the most difficult career.  We must remember what makes our teacher hearts happy.  

What is your Happy Teacher Heart moment that will keep you going?

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