This post is my response to a blog that AJ Juliani shared about teachers and leaders who are overwhelmed and undervalued. You can read or comment on his original post here.
I recently did an interview discussing what’s it’s like for me as a first year teacher. When asked what I still wanted to learn more about, I asked “How do I mitigate the increased stakes and regulations in education with my authentic zest and eagerness to just TEACH my students?”. I was met with an anxious laugh.
Here’s the thing: I spend hours of my own time planning, listening to podcasts and Twitter chatting. These pursuits consistently help renew my spirit and hone my craft. Despite my professional and personal attempts at effective mindfulness and positive perspective, there are still moments where it honestly sucks to be a teacher. But to be fair, I think there are moments in every job where it stinks to be a insert profession here.
This morning I started reading Teacherpreneurs, and I’ve been perseverating on the most striking statistic so far: 1 in 100 Americans is a classroom teacher.
I was no less than DEVASTATED because that means 1% of the working population is inherently exposed to professional marginalization, a detrimental mental health risk and an evermounting pile of mandated rocks to dutifully carry around.
Given that we (as human beings) experience the human condition regardless of societal norms and expectations, my call to action for teachers is this: Muster up the energy to activate your innovator’s mindset/design thinking/growth mindset to embody empathy and acknowledge the actual pain and burden of being a teacher. Whether you’re an actual teacher or you love someone who is, take the time to acknowledge that today, teaching isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. Once you do, the platitude: “knowledge is power” will reign. You’ll find the presence of mind, strength and resulting emPOWERment will lead you down the path toward eternal teacher peace.
Simply naming your feelings whether you want them or not (as learned in many years of therapy) opens the door to action. Go ahead… scream out cuss words or cry.
Just don’t wallow… because we’re not pigs; we’re humans who will find a better way.