The Last Months, An Empty Tank, and Play-doh!


As each school year comes to a close I begin to reflect on the last year… Did I empty my teaching tank?

When looking back over the year I ask myself a few questions:

Did I do enough?

As a veteran teacher I know there were years, days, hours, etc. I didn’t give enough. I didn’t do enough because well…. life happened.  Things came up in my life that just took the top step to teaching.  This school year my son had eye surgery, my dad had many doctors appointments to help save his eye sight, and my mom was hospitalized which in turn took time for more doctor’s appointments.  These are not excuses they are life.  They are the hard things that happened outside the walls of my school but affected what happened inside the walls of my school.  They aren’t excuses… like I said they are just life.

But as educators we sometimes forget that those “things” happen to our kiddos outside the walls of the school that also affect what happens inside the walls of the school for students also.  We expect them to leave their bricks at the door of the school and perform at their best ability all the time.

When life happened for me this year my students helped me carry the bricks.  They said things such as, “Mrs. Smith I hope Parker’s eye appointment goes great! I hope he gets good news. Is your mom ok now? Did her appointment go good?”  They made my load easier not heavier.  Do the same for your kiddos?

Did I leave a students wondering?

As the year draws to a close I hope that I didn’t leave students wondering if they mattered beyond the whiteboard. If they knew they were more than just a test score.

An example of this happened over the weekend……

It is graduation season for everyone.  If you are a teacher you have received multiple graduation invites which equals multiple plates of food.  My family was attending the second of the three or four receptions we had been invited to on Friday evening.  You always enter them thinking, “Ok.. I need to pace myself. Don’t eat a full meal here just a little at each one!” Well I once again hadn’t paced myself good enough at the first reception, so by the time we got to the second one I was already “stuffed”! But I knew their was a little girl that was going to ask me on Monday in the fourth grade room if I liked her mom’s cake. You see she talked about this dreamy cake all day in school Friday, “Mrs. Smith when you get to Johnny’s reception make sure you eat the cake, because my mom made it and she makes all the cakes for our family’s parties and they are SOOOO good!” I was stuffed. I was overflowing and I had no room for one bite of cake.

But I couldn’t leave her wondering…. I made room for a few bites of cake! I made sure when she came into the classroom on Monday morning I could say without a doubt that she was right… Her momma’s cake rocked!

Don’t leave them wondering if they matter… make them important beyond the whiteboard. Make sure you know how good the cake really is!

Did I give them the tools they needed to succeed?

This week as I was walking in the early morning I had this thought…

Teaching isn’t work. It isn’t a job. It isn’t a place you have to go. Teaching is the gift you have to help lead or shape a student into becoming what they will later share with the world! Don’t let your play-doh go dry….. never give up on the masterpiece!

As a teacher it is our given right that each day as we walk into those walls that we give all we can to our students and when they aren’t with us that we do all we can to improve ourselves so that in turn we can improve the future for those kiddos.

You see it is just like play-doh.  If you treat it right, you work with it, and changing things as you go because what you were doing just wasn’t working out, but most importantly never giving up; in the end you will have your biggest and best masterpiece.  Not because you are the next Picasso, but because you gave it your all and never said it wasn’t possible! You created something the world had no idea it needed, but someone, somewhere will be changed because of what you have helped create.

As this school year ends, take sometime to reflect on the kiddos that were a masterpiece as they walked out of your door for the last time. AND if you are anything like me you will realize that the real masterpiece was created by the students… how they changed you, how they never gave up on you, and how you became their masterpiece for next year’s students!

Have a GREAT summer and be ready for your new play-doh soon!


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