It's easy to lose focus in the classroom. From state assessments, data collection, formal observations and common core curriculum. With everything that is shoved our direction educators can lose focus on why we entered the classroom in the first place.
To regain our true purpose in the classroom perhaps we need to examine those that warm our desks on a daily basis. I know when I become overwhelmed with my ever growing to do list I literally glance across my room and all the noise in the background disappear as I am reminded that I am in the classroom for my students.
I am not a teacher so I can perfectly administer a state test, put on a dog and pony show for an observation, get caught up with all the latest technology trends, create a perfect IEP, earn a highly effective rating on my evaluation or collect never ending data. I am in the classroom for my students and that's it.
I believe when students are put first in the classroom everything else falls into place. Does this always work, no. But I'd rather put them first then put them last. When we lose focus on who our students are and who they are becoming then the joy of teaching vanishes.