Its the other people I am referring to in this post. [And I hope that I step on a few toes.]
I love teaching [even through the struggles this year] and I was well aware that when I became a teacher that the pay wasn't superb. I think if you become a teacher and are not aware of this little news nugget then you must live under a rock. That's not to say that I wouldn't take a pay raise but I just am not going to hold my breath waiting for one. [I realize this may be a juxtaposition to a previous post I made before school started. Its not that I don't believe in those things anymore but I concede that its probably not going to happen.]
Want to know what I think the problem truly is in all of this?
[I am not sure how many fellow educators read my stuff but, before you blow up like a toad, please read the rest of the story.]
There are way too many teachers out there that are on cruise control when it comes to doing their jobs.
There are way too many teachers out there with their own agendas instead of just doing their jobs.
There are way too many teachers that complain about simply doing their jobs.
I am a teacher.
Am I the world's best teacher? Absolutely not.
Are there things I can learn to do better in my classroom and for the kids I teach? Absolutely
Do I know everything about education? Absolutely not.
Have I done my fair share of complaining? I am ashamed to say yes.
But what I do know is that if you do your job, to the best of your ability [We are commanded in Colossians 3:23 to "Work at it with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not for men"] then that means that you have to
- Stay after hours.
- Get to know students and what is going on in their lives.
- Go to workshops [even in the summer] that show you are making an investment to be a lifelong learner.
- Be a team member.
- LEARN TO USE TECHNOLOGY EFFECTIVELY [in case you haven't noticed it is 2014 and the kids you are teaching know how to use technology and are begging for us to use it when we teach].
- Let the petty stuff go.
- Stop making the year all about the test at the end.
- And for goodness sake, please realize the world does NOT revolve around you.
I understand frustration over students that are pickles. I've also had my eyes open to some serious situations that students deal with...things I couldn't even begin to understand. Is this a free ticket for a student to be a turd? Heck no, but maybe it gives me an opportunity to give a little more than I think I have left. I am as guilty as the next for getting super frustrated, especially this year. But as I type this, God is piercing my heart and whispering, "Don't you give up. Faithful endurance. Finish the race." It's not about me.
I understand frustration over constant changes [been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt] to curriculum. Its really kind of comical but, after all these years, I've learned to go with the flow. Its not conforming or giving in but just taking it in stride and learning to adapt. There are bigger fish to fry in this world. Trust me.
I understand working more than one job to make ends meet. I am married to a teacher and we have four kids [what were we thinking?] and we haven't yet won the lottery. Yes, we could use a raise, but in this economy, I am truly thankful to have a job. No, I don't get paid over time to stay and help with a sporting event or for conferences. But I never have, in 17 years.
Do your job.
Teach. Worksheets and random assignments not related to what you are supposed to be teaching [aka curriculum] do not count as teaching.
Be willing to go just a little further, even when you think you cannot.
Help others, even when you think you can't or don't have time or any of the other thousands of reasons you can think of for not helping.
Learn from your students. Be willing to admit when you don't know the answer.
Get over yourself. We're all stretched to capacity and beyond. We are all tired and worn out and overworked and under paid....you are not the exception.
I can say all of these things, with confidence, because I have lived them. I don't say them to be judgmental or call out others because these statements came from my own experiences in my classroom.
God is working on my heart in a way that I cannot explain. No, I don't get some things that have happened this year but it isn't about me. I often tell Craig that I cannot change what someone says but only how I react to what is said. I should really practice what I preach :) James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
It is time for ALL educators to be part of the solution.
Until we, in education, hold everyone in education accountable for teaching then nothing will change. There is no place for teachers on cruise control in any classroom, anywhere. There is no place for selfish motives and "doing what you've always done" - that is just apathy. There is no place for teachers that are not willing to support school events because they live outside of the community. There is no place for those that don't want to follow the rules because they "don't like" the rules. There is no place for people, anywhere in education, that don't like children [please, find another job]. There is no place for complaining about what you didn't get because you chose not to attend required training.
Simply put, everyone needs to do their job.