Just Breathe: A Slice of Life



The weekly Slice of Life is hosted at Two Writing Teachers.  Please join me.





Breathe in, breathe out

The air in the room is crackling with excitement and stress.

“When are the tests?”

“Next week,” I laugh off.  You’ll be fine I say, just breathe.

Just breathe I tell myself.  They’ll be fine. Just breathe.

The news is filled with reports about teachers being rated,

shamed publicly like in the olden days,

placed in stocks,

burned at the stake,

no one deserves that.  Where has our humanity gone?

Breathe in, breathe out.

I think to myself

Will they do this to us?

Will they humliate me because

students went from 98% to 94%?

Just Breathe.

There is no narrow curriculum here.

I teach my kids to be advocates, to stand up for what they believe in.

What would they say

If their teacher is rated “unsatisfactory” or “satisfactory”


What would they think?

“Are we ready for the tests?” they ask.

“Yes,” I say with confidence.

“Will we be okay?” they wonder.

“Yes,” I nod, smiling wide, does it show in my eyes?

Will we be okay?

Breathe in, Breathe out.

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8 Responses to Just Breathe: A Slice of Life

  1. elsie says:

    This is the turmoil spinning in many teacher’s mind. You have expressed it perfectly! Your confidence in your kids is so crucial to their psyche as they face the test. Someday this testing madness will have to end.

  2. Juliann says:

    This is a stress on so many teachers right now. Just keep breathing.

  3. Stacey says:

    Where HAS the humanity gone? I just don’t know. The things that are happening to my friends in NY hurt me down to my very core. One has already seen some fall out from it, post Feb. break, when she returned to school yesterday. I cannot believe (oh wait, yes I can) that parents are complaining about a child’s teacher now that they see something, that is highly inaccurate, publicly. ARGH!

    All you and the best and brightest teachers out there can do is to believe in the children you teach.

    And, as you know, there is so much more to our worth as educators than our students’ performance on a few tests.

  4. Kara says:

    I teared up reading this.

    Knowing that there are teachers who really care and work with their kids every single day to get them prepared for these crucial tests that seem to do more harm than good, is very touching. There are many areas of the country (I went to school in one of them) where, if the kids failed these tests the teachers wouldn’t care. they wouldn’t care about helping the kids, the wouldn’t care about keeping their jobs, or trying to better themselves as educators.

    It’s heart wrenching to know that tese teachers who don’t care are hurting the ones who truly do, and yet it’s the good teachers who seem to get the worst of it.

    Good luck to you and your students!

  5. Breathe in, breathe out. I am such a fan of the repeated phrase. I like the way you tied it to one of the biggest carreer stressors we have as teachers! What a powerful reminder. To breathing I will add keep going and remember to look into those faces. The faces remind us why we became teachers! This is a passing moment and from what you said I DO think you will all make it through.

  6. MaryHelen says:

    Your repeated line really structured the piece. Thank you for sharing as I so agree. Keep believing in the kids. May you be blessed.

  7. I love this post. You wove in so many fears, frustrations, underlying causes of anxiety without sounding whiny or glib. Well put!

  8. Carol says:

    I’m a fourth grade teacher in Denver. We start testing next week and even though the kids have worked really hard and grown like crazy, they still have a long way to go. I have to keep reminding myself to breathe. Glad to know I am not the only one who feels this way!

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