1. When you feel like giving up, remember the student who told you he believed in his reading abilities because you believed first. Remember the student who called you her sunshine on a regular basis. Remember all the times you laughed at something together, or hung your Earth Day posters out in the hallway. Remember when they begged you to read outside, or eat with you, or hug you, or know more about you. Then ask yourself if you still feel like giving up.
2. In many ways, Wag! by Patrick McDonnell is the most perfect read aloud. It teaches a most profound lesson in the simplest, most beautiful way (we read it no less than 5 times).
3. Talk about your family and they will hinge upon your every word.
4. When comparing yourself to other teachers, don't.
5. Hold onto that one time you were all walking up the stairs after lunch and their eyes sparkled with anticipation over the next chapter of Matilda you were about to savor together.
6. Kids still truly love Reading Rainbow.
7. When you are thrilled to teach something, students will often be thrilled to learn about it.
8. In some cases, your classroom might be the most comforting safe haven a student has in his or her life. Therefore, please remember to tell each student how glad you are to see him or her every single day.
9. Don't forget to do something for yourself every now and then. Find a hobby that makes your heart sing. Do something that doesn't have any relation to the teaching profession. Bask in a life outside of your classroom, full of richness and love so that you can return to your classroom each and every single week day with enthusiasm in your heart and joy in your soul.
10. When you feel knocked down or low (which will happen more frequently than you'd care to admit), please know that you are doing one of the most important jobs, and serving in a way that is profound and meaningful. Know that the work you do has a great impact and that you matter to someone (a class full of someones, in fact). Tell yourself that you are important and wonderful and heroic, because you are. And when none of that works, give your students a hug, and you will feel the results of your work come flooding back to you in an avalanche of love and adoration.
Bonus (11.): Cherish the moments spent within the four walls of that first classroom. Hold onto them and keep them for later. When the door begins to close on that first year, you will feel simultaneously relieved, shocked (by how unbelievably quickly time passed), and deeply saddened. The mountain you chose to summit will be nearly behind you. You enjoyed the view and the fruits of your labor, and now you must hold it tight in your heart and never let it go. You did it! Congratulations. :)