My dear friends,
About eight and a half years ago, a few weeks into my first year of teaching, I started a new blogging account. I called it Love, Teach and wrote my very first post about two good things that had happened that day (one of them being a breakfast burrito).
I started Love, Teach partly as a way to keep my family and friends updated on my teaching journey without having to repeat my stories of massive failure over and over again. But I also wrote because I realized even by that point that teaching was an entirely different experience that I thought it would be. Nothing—not the books I read in my certification courses, not my experience as a student teacher, and definitely not my expectations going into teaching—could have prepared me for what this gig was really like. I think a part of me, even if I didn’t completely understand it at the time, knew that I needed to be documenting the huge changes that were going on both within and around me.
The audience that started as my mom and close friends began to grow until eventually I had more strangers reading my blog than people I knew. I realized that a lot of teachers—both newbies like me and veterans—were struggling under many of the systemic pressures of teaching but remained fiercely loyal to their students. It was encouraging to be a part of a community that loved being educators, but thought we all—students and teachers, families and communities—deserved better.
So, I kept writing. I wrote through several school changes and near-burnouts. I wrote on my worst days and on my best days. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that some of my posts are silly and light-hearted, while others are more serious. Some are advice-driven: things I wish I’d known as a struggling new teacher; others are more confessional or observational in nature. Eventually WeAreTeachers asked me to come on board, and I started blogging for them as well.
But you might know all of these things already.
What you might not know is that in January of 2016, a faculty advisor in my Master’s program asked me a very simple but very serious question: “What is the most important thing you have to say?”
The next day, I started working on a book about teaching.
Over that next year I wrote, researched, and created a proposal for a book about my experience, a book designed for new teachers who need the voice of someone who has been there during moments they could have never prepared for, the book I had so desperately wanted as a new teacher. And in February of 2017, I signed with Penguin Random House to make that book happen.
Writing as Love, Teach has been one of the most transformative experiences of my life. This community of whip-smart, funny, kind, compassionate teachers has changed me irrevocably. It feels like the readers I’ve come to “know” as Love, Teach and I are on one huge, tight-knit teaching team together that spans grade levels, cities, and even countries. These are teachers who celebrated my accomplishments with me and saw me through countless professional and personal challenges. Their feedback has made me a more informed and compassionate citizen, a more careful writer, and definitely a better teacher. If you’re reading this and have been a reader for the past week or from the get-go eight years ago: thank you for being here with me.
It feels like the end of something, telling you who I am. Love, Teach has been someone who is both me and not-me; someone who lent me her voice at a time when I was too scared to use my own. The process of even writing this post has been oddly emotional for me in a way I didn’t expect. But I know, and have known for a while, that it has to happen. My next steps in my journey as a teacher as an education advocate—wherever they might lead me—need to be ones I take as myself.
Even though I won’t “be” Love, Teach anymore, I will continue to write, blog, etc. using this name alongside my own. It’s funny the way it worked out: that a name that really just originated from my blog post signoffs, “Love, Teach” has become representative of what I strive for as an educator, like a two-part command to remember what’s really important: Love. Teach.
Love. Teach. Don’t whisper to turtlenecks.
OK. Here we go. Let’s do this!
My name is Kelly Treleaven. I’ve always told my students on the first day of school, “It’s like tre-nine, tre-ten, Treleaven!” And then they smile politely but briefly at my sad teacher joke.
I teach 7th through 9th grade English in Houston, Texas. I’m proud to teach in Spring Branch I.S.D. (and although I love where I work, I’ve been instructed to make sure everyone knows I’m not a representative—officially or unofficially—of any of their views, thoughts, opinions.)
Here’s me so you can say hi!
Maybe you know me from my current or former district. Maybe you’ve taught with me at a time when I was having a rough year, or maybe when I was totally crushing it. Maybe you’ve never met me, but have known me for years. Maybe you have no idea what Love, Teach is, but an Internet search brought you here because you were shopping for turtlenecks.
However you got here, I’m glad.
It’s so nice to meet you.