There is no doubt, being a classroom teacher is an incredibly challenging job. Meeting the needs of diverse learners while: balancing the expectations of parents and administration, meeting state standards, planning field trips, holding conferences, attending meetings before and after school, analyzing student data, collecting and receipting money, and building innovative and engaging lessons everyday can be incredibly overwhelming for a seasoned teacher. Just imagine being a beginning teacher, year 1, 2, or 3, and trying to balance all those responsibilities.
Now think about all those things and as a ‘newer’ teacher accepting the challenge to present at a district conference and a state conference. I think we would all agree it takes courage to stand in front of your peers and share. Many teachers never find the courage to stand up and share – which is disappointing, because I truly believe we are all better when we take risks, not only for ourselves but for the kids we serve.
So what do you say to the beginning teachers that take the risk, only to be discouraged by seasoned teachers that question, doubt and even criticize their innovative practices at their own school?
It reminds me of a Theodore Roosevelt quote, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..”
How can we expect our new teachers to continue to have a fire and a passion for teaching when many of the veterans they teach with are trying to extinguish it?
I choose to ignite and I do that by connecting new teachers with other innovators on Twitter, getting them to EdCamps, and providing opportunities for them to share their EDU Awesomeness with educators beyond their building. As veteran teachers we need to model risk and innovation. We need to celebrate the successes we see around us and lift up, not only our beginning teachers, but each other. Most importantly we need to challenge each other to be better for our profession and for the kids we have the honor and privilege of serving.
Do you ignite or extinguish?