Hi! I’m Alison Smith. I’m a proud mama of a 5-year-old daughter and baby boy, wife to my amazing husband, Scott, and surrogate mom to dozens of children who laughed and wondered and dared and learned in my 4th grade classroom. Here’s the backstory…
All my life I wanted to be a teacher.
I got into my first classroom and with nervous anticipation, hoped I would be like the teachers in the movies – the inspirational ones that all the kids love, who make learning fun, and who care deeply about their students – definitely not like the crotchety old lady ones (why are these the only two movie role models for teachers?!)
I cared so deeply – but just like many teachers, the realities of the teaching profession hit me hard. I had lessons fail, students act up, and colleagues take advantage of me. I was stressed, overwhelmed, had no personal life (what’s that?!), drank a couple glasses of wine with dinner, and ate cookies in the teachers lounge telling myself “I deserve this – it’s been a crappy day!” Sound familiar?
I wanted to be that teacher whose nails her lessons every time, every day, with every child. I wanted to be that teacher whose colleagues respected her boundaries, who the parents requested, and who all the kids high-fived in the halls. I wanted to be that teacher who could have work/life balance without being a “worksheet queen.”
And when I wasn’t that teacher (who is!?), I didn’t know who I was.
It was all or nothing. (Can you tell that I’m a recovering perfectionist?!) So since I wasn’t everything I pictured, I felt like nothing. Worthless. I lost myself. I felt defeated, overwhelmed, stressed, guilty, and disengaged.
Then I became a statistic – one of those teachers who leaves teaching within the first five years.
But now, after 10 years of doing professional development for teachers and thousands of conversations with other educators, I realize my story is not unique. And it’s not just a new teacher story. Teachers of all levels face challenges emotionally and professionally that we aren’t prepared for nor have resources to deal with properly. We have plenty of instructional resources, but where are the resources to help us become more wholehearted teachers?
That’s how A Teacher’s Best Friend was born!
The goal of my work is to come alongside you – like a best friend does – to encourage and support you being the most authentic, joyful, and wholehearted teacher you can be. I want to see you win and will support you in achieving your goals.
Maybe you are a new teacher and are being hit hard by the realities of the teaching profession like I was. Maybe you are a more experienced teacher who is now being asked to take on leadership and mentoring positions that are a whole new challenge for you. Maybe you want to apply for a promotion, a new position, or an award, but you just need some support and help to do it.
Maybe you are just a person who knows you are called to teach, but struggling with the emotions and overwhelm of it all.
I hope you’ll check these pages out to:
Let’s talk! Schedule a 15-minute chat with me to discuss how I can support you in your journey!
~Alison, A Teacher’s Best Friend