Monday, May 26, 2014

Behind The Scenes

I will always be real with you.  Today there are no classroom craftivities, no bright colors and classroom creative lesson plans.  No new ‘Teachers We Love’ video interviews.  Just a real teacher story and heartfelt post.  

I have been asked: How are you always so happy?  You are Miss Congeniality.   You are such an amazing teacher.  

My Sprinkle Teaching Magic blog, pictures on Instagram, happy posts on my teaching Facebook page, special teacher interviews all tell part of my teaching story.  But there is more. 

Let’s take it waaaaay back.  

I’ve taken what I loved doing as a child to my adult life.  I used to play teacher in my mom’s 8th grade classroom.  I would stick paper clips on my fingers, write on the chalk board, and teach a classroom full of stuffed animals.  Those stuffed animals eventually  turned into real students, and I have taught grades K-5.  

As a young girl, I had a trusty cassette tape recorder and a video camera, and pretended I was a radio and television host.  Now I produce shows on my YouTube channel offering free tips and teacher interviews.  I also host a monthly Teacher Radio Show.  

You need to know that I am by no means the “perfect happy teacher”.  In fact I am far from.  I hope the more honest I am about my own teaching struggles the more I can help you.  I have had life and career ups and downs.  

There was even a time I almost walked away from teaching, my true calling.  

More recently, I had to leave my teaching position three weeks before the end of the school year.   This was with great heaviness of heart.  I have often shared on this blog how wonderful my students are.  I love them with all my heart and I am so proud of the growth and successes we have made this year.  

Ultimately, there are many things that go on behind the scenes in a teacher’s life and at a school.  Relationships, loss, health, grief, and life priorities come up.  Educational dysfunction/bureaucracy compromises a teacher’s values and philosophy. Everyday this depletes the teacher.  Put on a brave face.  Be there for your school.  Your students.  Your parents.  What happens when a teacher needs to be there for themselves?  What boundaries does a teacher keep?  Putting ourselves first can come across as selfish and confusing to those not walking in our shoes.     

I am not happy every moment in the classroom or every moment in life.  This is not a reality.  In fact I struggle daily with some anxiety.  I have spent years observing teachers, interviewing teachers, reading about education, and trying out happy practices.  Some have worked and some fell flat, but I will always continue to focus on teacher happiness. 

We all know that teaching is a noble profession and meaningful career.  

The heart of education is the students.  This I know, but what about you, the teacher?  Over the years I see how myself and my colleagues give and often give to their detriment.    
Are there enough people advocating for you?  Supporting you?  Listening?  Understanding?  And shining light on amazing teachers who keep going despite the dysfunction that exists in education?  

Teachers are truly grateful for the appreciation and love given by the school community and students.  And often, the community, students, and administration do not know what goes on behind the scenes or daily struggles a teacher may have.  Teachers must have a voice.     

I decided my true passion and calling lie beyond my classroom and to a larger community of teachers.  

I think about the darkest times in my teaching career and how in those fragile moments I wish I had something or somebody in education to turn to.  I needed a community that focused on the positive, but yet shared the nitty-gritty, real life teaching stories.  I didn’t need another classroom idea; I needed a pep-talk, a “I’ve been there, I get it, you are still an amazing teacher and you don’t have to be perfect all the time.”

I carefully and thoughtfully create every video, blog post, and radio interview to support you and to give back to the profession I love.  If I can help a teacher I am indirectly helping students.  

I’m here to be a “connector” among all of the fabulous teachers in the world.  I will bring you stories of hope, inspiration, and courage.  

I am here to increase your potential for success and to give you meaningful teacher connections.  

Taking what I have learned and sharing it with you brings me the greatest joy.

I hope to boost and refresh your spirit when the work load of teaching is overwhelming.  

You are in the right place.  I hear you. 


  1. Perfectly said, Sheila!! We often forget how difficult it can be to "be real" with each other...but I feel that when we are, we gain SO much more from collaborating and supporting each other! <3 HUGS!!!

    1. Thank you so much for you comment Aris! You are such a sweet teacher friend and I am thankful for your encouragement. I completely agree with you.

  2. Thank you for sharing . You are right on .

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am so glad you thought it was right on. Means a ton!

  3. Shelia you are awesome! Thank you for all you do for us and for being a remarkable role model!

    1. Thanks Karyn. Your comment is so encouraging to me.

  4. You are amazing! Everything you share is from the heart. You keep it real. We thank you for that. :)
    Ramona Recommends

  5. Thank you for your honesty. I just found you on youtube and this old teacher appreciates what you do!

  6. I think that being "Real" gets lost a lot in this old blogging world. I hope you know what you are an inspiration to many. Keep fighting the good fight. We need you.

    A Rocky Top Teacher

  7. Hi I am 16 years old and from Canada I love your blog and your videos on YouTube you inspire me to reach after my goal to become a teacher and showed me the realities of being a teacher, although I know I have a long way to go. Thank you for being real and inspiring and truthful because the world is filled with many good people but sometimes it hard to see them and I am so thankful you put your self out their for the world to see and be inspired by what a amazing teacher does thank you for helping me pursue my dream. You are so amazing.

  8. I just discovered your youtube videos and was thrilled to see that you have this blog as well! It is clear from your kind words how much you care about teaching and fellow teachers. You are truly an inspiration to new teachers like myself! Thank you :)

  9. Thank you for your transparency. It is refreshing to read and hear you bravely put it out there. I respect the stories you share and giggle at your funny antics. I stumbled upon one of your videos a few days ago and now I think I've seen them all. Keep up the great work!

  10. Thank you for your honesty, truly. Sometimes we work way too hard and need to refocus on what's truly important. Our health and happiness are often compromised and last fall, I decided I needed to set better boundaries and focus more on myself. Thanks for reassuring us that it's ok if it isn't always rainbows and sunshine!


Sheila Chako
Sprinkle Teaching Magic