Home > Books, Education, Teaching > And Here We Go . . .

And Here We Go . . .

I have to say, reading through Rafe Esquith’s new book Real Talk for Real Teachers was a very poignant experience for me, both on a professional and personal level.  Starting with the book itself,  it’s an excellent read and for those who have read his other books, Rafe does a very good job of diving a little deeper into his practices and reflecting on his past experiences.

For example, one of the helpful sections of the book describes a typical day in his classroom, how he prepares and what his students do, almost to the minute.  Observing other teachers is definitely one of the best ways to improve your own teaching and having Rafe describe his typical day to the reader was very beneficial.  At least for me, this was worth the price of the book itself.

However, on a personal level, what ended up more beneficial to me was the motto on the cover:  “No Retreat, No Surrender.”

I’m just about to start my seventh year of teaching and reading this book definitely helped reinforce why I started teaching in the first place.  Honestly, if you haven’t read anything about Rafe Esquith, please do.  He’s starting on his third decade of teaching and the fact he still feels this passionately about making a difference just makes me want to do the same.  My energy was sapped a bit last year.  I encountered a few things I didn’t anticipate (most of which were outside influences, nothing really within the classroom itself.  I loved my bunch of kiddos last year!) and it left a very bitter taste at the end of it all.

But I made it through.  However, as the summer began, I was still feeling a lack of excitement for the next school year.  I felt “drained” after this past year and wondered if I could do it again.  It made me ask myself . . . “am I losing that desire?”

After a few weeks of reflection and a couple of summer field trips with the students, I found my answer to that question.


However I felt about last school year, spending time with the students during the summer allowed for some perspective.   As I chatted with them about their goals and their lives in general, I definitely realized I still loved my job.  Teaching has definitely helped define who I am.  Though I felt like I was knocked around last year, I still felt the urge to get up, to keep on fighting.

No retreat, no surrender.

So now, to the educators out there who have started the school year or about to start like I am, keep that motto in mind.  Our careers allow for a certain amount of doubt, disillusionment, disappointment and frustration, so I’m not going to tell you we have the best job in the world, as some other teachers might say.

However . . . I am going to tell you that we have one of the best jobs where we can make a difference.

No retreat, no surrender.

I can’t wait to start . . .

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