Yes, I love Finding Nemo! My kids are of the age where “those” movies don’t hold as much stock, but I love pulling that movie out and watching it.  Great characters, awesome quotes (my youngest daughter still gives me  “Fin! Noggen! Duuuuuude!” from time to time), and above all else, the storyline of a dad, risking life and “fin” to find his son.

As I continue down this educational road, I get the feeling I’m Dory.  I’m being bombarded by stimuli from all over (reform movements, grumpy parents, needy kids, Common Core, etc) and it’s hard to stay focused on one thing.  But yet, I “just keep swimming”.

And why?  What pushes us to keep swimming against a stream that seems constantly against us?  I can’t answer for everyone, but for me, it’s that feeling of a calling.  I love what I do, period.  The paperwork, the phone calls at 9:30 at night, the constant worry of “what if”, all of it.  I keep swimming for boy who cried when I gave him that second chance, and turned into a model student.  I keep swimming for the Facebook post from a former student, one I had 18 years ago who stated for the world how much she and her friends loved my wife and I.  I keep swimming for the ski trip we took last week, and the excitement, the smiles, and the student who struggles with everything flying down the slopes better then many of her classmates.

I won’t lie, the phrase “Welcome to Wal-Mart! How can I help you?” stick in my head from time to time (and of course, they are phasing out greeters, so another job is shot).  But yet, when former students hug me on graduation day, when parents talk about the difference I’ve made, or when my principal comments about how well I handled a situation, it matters.  In my classroom, we chant the mantra “I matter! I am a genius! I am a genius and the world needs my contribution!”  And you know what, we as teachers do matter, but we are the last to admit that.

We just keep swimming.

*humming along as I click post*