#SawYouBeingAmazing: How My Teacher Friends Support Me Through Tough Times

by | 05.6.19

Edwin Minguela is a teacher in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @MrMinguela3.

I’ve wanted to be a teacher ever since I was in elementary school. When I was in third grade, my dad bought a full-sized chalkboard, so our basement became my classroom. I would get home from school and tell my mom, ‘Okay, mom, I’m going down to my classroom.’

I started my real teaching career last year, and it turned out that even all my planning couldn’t prepare me for what I was going to encounter. What I’m facing – the struggles with classroom management, kids coming in with big needs, trying to differentiate instruction – it’s been hard for me to maneuver everything.

Last year, I experienced a lot of ups and downs. I thought that maybe if I reached out on Twitter, I might get some support. At first, I didn’t want to put myself out there, but I needed to know I wasn’t alone. I tweeted: ‘Really need some words of encouragement… This school year has been such a struggle. I’m wondering if I’m making it the whole year…’ And my Twitter PLN came through with 155 responses.

People told me: You’re making a difference, even if you don’t know it. Even if it’s just one child, that’s still a win. Some people wrote things like, ‘Even though the kids aren’t showing it, they do appreciate you.’ And you know what? They were right: I was making a difference last year, even though it didn’t feel like it. The kids who gave me the hardest time last year were the ones who asked at the end if I was coming back. They asked, ‘Can we come visit you?’ Now, they’re the kids who give me the biggest hugs, the ones who try to sneak into my room and who want to have lunch with me.

I always try to teach my students that it’s okay to need help – we don’t have to do everything on our own. I teach them that we’re all a work in progress. That big show of support from my PLN was this amazing reminder that those lessons apply to us teachers, too. It’s okay for us to be vulnerable. Of course, reaching out doesn’t mean all the problems go away – but knowing you’re not alone makes all the difference. In those moments when you feel like you’re failing, or like you’re the only one struggling, don’t stay in that place alone: Reach out. You’ll be amazed at the support you will find.

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