Help a teacher out!

Monday, June 25, 2018
What am I going to be when I grow up...said the little blog to the creator? After re-vamp number 3 here, and the smooth lines of the new blog, I find myself giddy with possibilities and topics that I want to discuss.

I started writing yesterday beginning down one vein and then I thought (or fell down the rabbit hole) I need to totally revamp this blog. Which leads me to my first topic.

During this past year I have been working (sweating, gnashing, pouring) on my National Board certification and it has overwhelmingly sucked up all my time. I am now done (all except knowing if I passed) - like STICK A FORK IN ME I'M DONE.
So now, ta da, I am back on the bloggy circuit. WOOT! The NBCT work has inevitably caused me to reflect on my teaching, the state of teaching in general, education and the state of education in America.

This past year I watched as some of the bravest and most admirable teachers - those who have been a mentor to me through the years agonize the choice of defending the profession and demand that they are treated AS PROFESSIONALS. They made a very brave decision to walk out of their classrooms and hold those in leadership accountable for the state of education in America.

Teachers are the backbone of America. We in the throes of the educational upheaval broach the tumult with apprehension, joy, nausea, as well as necessity. Our students demand our very best, and we as the aging part of the population, should demand that the generation who will lead our future, have the absolute very best. We enable EVERY. OTHER. CAREER.

I have been pondering my profession as of late...let me restate...MY PROFESSION - and for those of you who are unaware teaching is a PROFESSION. We are required to have a degree, and maintain licensure requirements that differ from state to state, continually PROFESSIONALLY develop, we are held  (some would argue) to a higher standard than even physicians (whom nobody would question as a professional).  However, for some odd reason, since everybody has been to school at one time or another, they believe that they are a professional educator.  

Let me draw a quick analogy - most people at one time or another have used a band-aid but would not call themselves a surgeon nor proffer opinions on the best method to reattach a severed limb; so, why do so many think they are experts in education because they attended school? Sure, I can address the needs of 6+ students on an IEP, know by heart that the focus standards of the CCSS are being met in lessons, use updated pedagogical strategies while documenting growth, and mastery; all while under the SCRUTINIZING eye of someone who thinks they have the silver bullet to education.

So, THIS summer like many others, I will confirm my allegiance to the multitudes of teachers who bravely find redemption and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and proclaim out loud "WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH".  Here is what we know...
  • We don't like testing anymore than students do - especially since our students are tested, to death.
  • We don't love having zero autonomy in our classrooms - trusted to be professional.
  • We don't like when we are punished collectively for the misdeeds of few.
  • We hurt when our students do.
  • We celebrate victories with students regardless of size or achievement.
  • We welcome evaluation where we can celebrate our students instead of hanging our head when students do not meet an arbitrary mark set by those who haven't a clue.
  • We welcome feedback but do not believe that everybody is an EDUCATION expert just because they went to school.
  • We are taking this time during the summer to re-charge, reclaim overtime put in during the year, educate ourselves, make-up lost moments to family, and yes...think about school.

So, if you see a teacher realize that they are angels on the good side of the fight. We love your kiddos, we will continue to love your kiddos and strive to make each one of them the warrior they are meant to become.  However, if you are able, fund a classroom, volunteer, ask what you can do with your child, drop off a bag of Hershey's kisses (I promise they will be devoured with love), ask your student what they are working on - EVEN AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL, send a note to a teacher, value teachers like we value your student! AAAAAND for the love of all that is holy...don't forget about us in the upper grades...we love your kiddos too and we love to know that we are a part of the time honored sacred triangle - student,  parent, teacher - working together to magnify the success of each student. 
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