It takes me 40 minutes to drive to work and I love it. I am obsessed with listening to podcasts. Ed Mylett is an entrepreneur who I listen to and love. He motivates people to become better. Better parents, better businessmen, better humans. This post is based off of his podcast, “Changing Your Identity.”
Every person has a thermostat and it is set where we feel comfortable. My hottest teacher temperature (when I was at the top of my teaching game) were my years in a classroom with students who have autism or intellectual disability. During those years, my teacher temperature was at least 95. I was on fire. I knew that I was doing exactly what I was meant to do. I loved problem-solving; working to figure out why students refused to enter the gym or how to teach students using methods outside of the box. I loved creating materials. I loved working with students and the relationships I had with their families.
Looking back, I know why my thermostat was set so high.
- I was hungry to learn. I was taking classes, reading articles and talking to other professionals.
- I was surrounded by amazing humans. The paraprofessionals and general education teachers who I worked with made me better. They questioned my methods and pushed me to create a better environment. They supported my interventions and believed in the work we were doing.
- We had fun! Every day in my classroom wasn’t a blast, but most of the time, we had fun. We created a family and the kids felt safe and loved. We laughed…a lot.
- I loved what I was doing and believed in the students and adults with whom I worked.
95 was comfortable. In fact, it felt great. My thermostat stayed at that level because I worked incredibly hard. When I became too tired to keep my temperature at a 95, I felt awful. I couldn’t keep up the pace I needed to feel successful in that classroom and my temperature dropped. I knew that to get back to a 95, I needed to make a change.
When we become comfortable at a certain temperature, changing that number is difficult. In our homes, when the thermostat is set at 72, but it is really hot outside, the temperature may rise to 75. The thermostat will work really hard until the temperature comes back down. Changing the setting on our thermostats requires persistent work to make a permanent change. Perhaps this is a change in grade level or subject area. It could mean moving from a teacher to a consultant. This could also be a change in routine, mindset, style or location. Maybe learning a new technique or curriculum could spark that change. Something that is for sure…being stagnant will move your temperature in the wrong direction. We must keep growing and pushing ourselves to be better humans.
I wonder how many teachers feel that their thermostat is set at 95. I know many of these teachers. They are the teachers who make their profession an art. They radiate the love they feel for kids. I’ve been taught by these teachers and my kids have been taught by these teachers. They are invaluable.
My question to you is, where is your thermostat set? What is your teaching temperature? Everyone gets stuck. Over the years, lesson plans stop changing and every new initiative is a hassle. If you are a teacher who feels stuck…if your thermostat has decreased throughout the years because your temperature dropped, I challenge you to do something to change it. Read a book. Find a Facebook group of teachers with similar interests to share ideas. Find new and inspired ways to run your classroom. Be determined that at the end of this school year, every child is going to be sad to leave your classroom. Increase your teacher temperature!