You Didn’t Win the Listserve…

July 17 2015

But I did!

and so there must be some mystical reason that I did and you are reading this. So venture on and spend just a few minutes of your day entertaining my message and let’s learn a thing or two from each other.

I am a second grade writing teacher (one of the many current definitions I have for myself).
If you have a child in school, you know that education is not like it was when we were kids. There are fewer recesses and arts and crafts, and teachers aren’t geriatrics wearing jean jumpers with ugly Sketcher shoes, and that’s just the beginning of it. Education has evolved in to a data-driven, high-stakes test-taking, intense beast of an industry. Of course, I’m only speaking from my perspective. I teach at a charter school. But let me tell you (I assume you as being an educated, driven human who wants to learn from others. Why else are you getting extra emails clogging your inbox?), I really love it. I’m passionate about it in a way that only a person whose immigrant mother with an 8th grade education who works in a factory so that I could go to college can be. I’m passionate in a way that I see myself in my second graders – full of hope and optimism (way more than I actually have for the world).  

So every day I tell my kids several things:

-I don’t have to be here. I don’t. I could get another job and make more money. But I woke up this morning and chose to be here with you today. I’m grateful to be here with you, and I want to be here because we learn from each other, and I love you.
-I don’t have all the answers (if any). I know that the more I love and encourage others, the better I feel inside. I know that sometimes I can work really hard, and it still doesn’t work out. I know that life goes on and on and on. I know that emotions come and go.
-You don’t have to go to college. But if you’re not going to go to college you better be really damn (jk I don’t say that) good at whatever you do, and you better be creative! So, I’m preparing you for college, because I’m helping you be your best. But I really just want you to have the choice to do whatever makes you fulfilled and grateful to be alive.
***Disclaimer – I am not Mother Teresa. I get paid for my job, and sometimes it’s a grind. I tell my kids when I’m tired too :) such is life.

It’s summer, and I’m getting ready for the new school year, so email me back and let me know: What am I missing? What else should I tell my kids? What do you wish someone would’ve told your second-grade self? 

If you’ve read this far, I might as well continue –
Books I’d recommend:
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers (shout out to University of Illinois!)
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV
(send me book recommendations too please!)
Shout out to Mohamad for introducing me to the Listserve!
Elizabeth Shafer
[email protected]
IG: e_shaf
Houston, TX 

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