Over winter break, we had several family members at our house who are teachers. Their service and experience spanned across Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and California. As the only administrator, I did more listening than talking, because I wanted to see how teachers saw the current state of education. Let me start by saying that each member of this group had at least twenty years of experience and were all positive and motivated teachers. Of course we spent some time discussing the changes and trends in salary and benefits for teachers across the country, but the majority of the discussion was on the climate in the world of education…and it wasn’t good.
If I could sum up in one word what I captured from the conversation about what it is like to be a teacher in today’s world, it would be “exhausting“. Teachers are tired and not the kind of tired that a good night’s sleep will remedy. They are tired of continuously shifting targets, curriculum, and assessments. They are tired from a knowledge that children need social and emotional support, but aren’t given the time or the tools to address those needs. They are tired of having things added to their plates, while nothing ever comes off. Most of all, they are tired of not being treated like the dedicated professionals they are. Here are some examples that were shared.
One teacher shared that she felt like everything she had been doing for twenty years was all wrong. Another felt that every observation or meeting with the administrator ended in a critique or a “gotcha” to demonstrate the superior knowledge of the administrator. The most shocking story shared was of a principal who brought a whistle into the staff meetings and would blow the whistle if teachers were talking or getting off track. Seriously!
Let’s be clear, I do believe that we need to keep up to date with the best instructional practices. Actionable feedback IS important for teacher growth and continuous learning. And yes, staff meetings should be kept on track to honor everyone’s time. However, it’s the way we do things and the spirit they are given and received that creates the climate. As we shift instructional practices, give TIME and training to staff while still respecting the years of experience they bring. When giving feedback, ASK teachers what they feel went well and where they would like to grow. Most teachers are harder on themselves than a principal ever could be. Finally, be RESPECTFUL of educators. Teaching is a calling and all who have answered that calling deserve to be treated like the professionals they are.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do feel that education is a difficult enough profession without us belittling or attacking one another. Principals need to support teachers, so that teachers can support students. Everyone wants to be a on a winning team and I look at a winning team, as one where everyone supports one another, challenges one another, and respects one another. Making our profession the best it can be starts with us!
“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai
“Teaching is a walk in the park….Jurassic Park!” – Anonymous
- Monday, January 20: No School in observance of MLK Day
- Tuesday, January 21: Achievement Team (Allmayer) 8:15 AM
- Wednesday, January 22: Data Dives (Rotating Subs)
- Thursday, January 23: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, IEP (Banter) 9:00-12:00 in the Art Room
- Friday, January 24: Lifetouch will be doing candid shots for the yearbook
- Monday, January 27: Students of the Month Assembly (Confidence) 9:05 AM, 4th Grade Debrief on Integrated Units
- Tuesday, January 28: IEP (Ringler) 8:15 AM, 2nd Grade Roll out for Integrated Units
- Thursday, January 30: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, Staff Luncheon in the lounge, Skate Night 6:00-8:00 PM
- Monday, February 4: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
- Wednesday, February 5: Math Assemblies in the Gym (PM)
- Thursday, February 6: PLC – Looking at Data 7:50-8:50 AM
- Friday, February 7: VIP Dance in the gym 6:00-8:00 PM