Sometimes it’s Hard

Sometimes tMartin Gommelhis inquiry, project-based, student or learner centred, tech embedded, or whatever you may call it, thing can be hard. Sometimes you feel alone.  Sometimes you feel misunderstood.  And the truth is, sometimes you are alone & misunderstood.  Sometimes it’s frustrating to have to explain, again, what it is you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Sometimes you feel ostracized or attacked.  Sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes you cry.

I’ve received countless email, some from teachers needing to stay anonymous from their co-workers, of stories just like this. I’ve experienced teaching just like this.

Sometimes you wonder why you go on. The textbook would be easier. The unit exam would be easier. Not teaching digital fluency or self-regulation would be easier. Sometimes you get tired of being the change you wish to see in this world.  Sometimes it’s hard.

But there’s a reason why we do what we do. We’ve seen kids catch fire, ignited by the passion of discovering something they love.  We’ve heard kids articulate their learning in ways that take our breath away.  We’ve seen students grow in confidence after struggling and struggling and struggling.  I teach this way because I know it changes kids lives.

We teach this way because we want what we do to matter –today.  Kids want work that is relevant, meaningful & authentic, engaging and inspiring.  And the truth is we want our job to be all these things too.   And through the course of all of this, we become more human, compassionate & empathetic. And aren’t these some of most important goals of education?

I teach this way because I know being a life long learner, who is curious & teachable, is the only way to live. But sometimes it’s hard, and I need to remind myself one more time, I’m not here to fit in; I’m here to contribute.

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About shelleywright

I love education & learning, which likely explains why I'm a teacher. My areas are ELA, Sr. sciences, and technology. My classroom is best described as a student-centred, tech embedded pbl/inquiry learning environment. I am currently a PhD student in the area of Curriculum and Instruction. My focus is play-based learning in high school, and it's impact on brain development.
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30 Responses to Sometimes it’s Hard

  1. I’m studying our education systems right now, as part of my MA in Educational Studies. I wish more educators could state so succinctly what it is we hope to attain through schooling. Not internationally competitive testing outcomes. Not arbitrary sheets of paper embossed with an institution’s coat of arms. We want an engaged, active interested, teachable population that remains excited about learning into old age. It’s hard because it’s worthwhile. Thanks for this.

  2. Shelley, this post and your last post are really great. It is SO good for others in the same boat to know that they aren’t alone!
    Thank you!

  3. Heather Hobbs says:

    Shelley, you’re right, sometimes it is hard, discouraging and lonely. But we keep doing it because we know in our gut it’s right and that we couldn’t really do it any other way. Not all paths are easy, but they are definitely worth the struggle.

  4. Rayleen says:

    I understand your challenge and the difficulty in being the change you wish to see. All I can say is keep the focus of the students and you will gain energy from them and slowly change will come about. Remember, we are here to support! I look forward to working with you in this new role!

  5. Thank you!!!!!! I know now I’m not alone!! This will forever be my favorite post!!! Again, thank you!!!!

  6. Thanks. You have no idea how badly I needed to read this today.

  7. Yes! That is so true! It is a struggle sometimes and textbook would be easier, but oh so boring! I don’t think I can ever go back to just using a textbook with exercises anymore! Nor teach at a school without 1:1. I enjoy reading your posts! And it is a good thing that you are going back to teaching!

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  10. Stacey Meyer says:

    Shelley,
    Thank you for the tremendous message for all the amazing teachers out there!! A reminder of the “why”! Thank you.

  11. Thank you so much for writing this! I’m a HS Library Media Specialist who has been called “an agent of change.” Everything I do is research-backed but I still often get looked at like I have seven heads.

  12. Great insight, as usual, Shelley. I think it is completely appropriate for students to experience challenge and struggle with learning. They need to overcome obstacles, fail with grace, and learn that they will likely face hard times throughout life, as all of us have. It is good for your students to see you not shying away from challenge. The easy way isn’t necessarily the best way, seldomly is.

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  14. lisamnoble says:

    So glad other people are feeling like it’s February. This post and your last have made me feel a bit less like a “stranded evangelist”. Yes, it is hard, and today I looked at a quote in our staff room about “choosing to help light the way for your organization”, and said to a friend that I felt like my light was getting a bit dim….but writing like this helps me brighten up a bit.

  15. Melissa Lau says:

    I needed this. Thank you, Shelly. Keep fighting the good fight.

  16. Jim Cordery says:

    Thanks for the great message. Had one of those weeks. Keep sharing.

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  18. Josie Watts says:

    So interested to hear play base learning and embedded technology in the same post. This is my first visit to your blog. I learn and teach in lower elementary and find it natural to play on the computer and the classroom so planning for them to happen at the same time is obvious to me. After viewing Mini Ito video (sorry unsure of how to make a link in a comment) I can see that through out life PBL is the key to true life long learning. I am so lucky to be working with a like minded team who don’t mind if the learning gets a little messy. Thanks for this post it gave me a real smile :-)

  19. Kevin says:

    I also really needed this today. Many of the students just don’t get what I want to accomplish because they are so embedded in the “traditional” style of teaching. If you aren’t telling them what they need to know, you aren’t teaching. It gets frustrating.

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