To my utter joy, and hers, my wonderful student teacher was approved for a 5th grade position at my building. I am so excited for her, and she is already jumping at the bit to get into her new classroom to start setting things up. As somebody who went back to get her teaching certification she was older than other student teachers by a few years, and that maturity made her extremely reflective about her practice. I know this is going to serve her well, and I'm so excited to work with her to help her get off on the right foot.
Over the past few days she's been texting me to ask me what I thought she needed to get and where she should start. First, I told her to relax and enjoy her summer, and then I started to create a list of little things she may want in her room to get her started on the right foot, all of those little things that you may not realize you'll need as a new teacher. As I was browsing through my TweetDeck this evening to get more ideas for this list, I ran across this post about staying positive by Aviva, and it got me thinking about one thing I have that I think every teacher needs.
During my first year of teaching one of my students drew an amazingly funny comic strip for me. As I was sharing it with coworkers one of the more experienced teachers said, "You should put that in your Feel Good Folder!" I had never heard of such a thing so I asked her about it, and she told me it's just a folder where you put those special things that make you feel really good about being a teacher. So I grabbed a bright red file folder, labeled it Feel Good Folder, put the comic strip in there (after laminating of course!), and put it in my filing cabinet.
Like most of you I get many, many pictures, emails and notes every year, but the Feel Good Folder is a little different. The contents of this folder are those extra special things, the ones that really touch your heart. On days when I'm hurting and finding it hard to remember the good things about being a teacher, I turn to this red folder. It's name fits -- I can't help but feel better when I look at this small, special collection from the past 16 years. And I can't help but remember all of the wonderful reasons why I am a teacher.
So as you are reflecting upon your successes from the past year, take some time this summer to recharge by thinking about all of the things that you already have in your Feel Good Folder. Even if you don't have a physical folder (yet) the memories will recharge you over the summer and get you excited to plan for your next big adventure in the fall.