Getting ready for his annual ARD. Makes me cry every time. I love his progress, but knowing how much he struggles is hard for my mom and teacher heart. I have to learn that God has a plan and His ways are perfect. I also have to let go of what it means to be on grade level or normal or average or behind and just accept that this is his level. Being a SPED parent is hard and we often forget the real human emotions in the midst of all the documentation and paperwork.
One of the biggest changes facing our educational system is the mental health of teachers. Teachers are seeing the value in self care and choosing to limit the things we say yes to do. But here is the problem-these things will be done whether you say yes or not. So what is happening is a small few doing the “extra duties as assigned” of a large group.
A few things on that list:
Battle of the Books Coach
Morning and afternoon duty
After school clubs
Gifted programs like DI
All these things benefit kids, but adult volunteers have to run them.
I truly believe we are in the age of a teaching revolution where the spotlight will be how we can support education. Already seeing more reforms for stipends, better security and awareness of the teacher shortage and how the community can support us.
I love it. I feel valued and heard. It inspires me to keep going knowing I am seen. Teachers should be respected, but it starts with respecting ourselves.
Be the professionals we are in our dress, conduct and attitudes of what we do. I am not saying jeans are bad-but do not roll up like you are about to garden. In fact, I would prefer scrubs!
I am looking forward to a year where it is acknowledged that teachers have been leaving (and may continue to go) so embrace the ones that stayed. Value the extra confident ones while supporting and encouraging the ones that see the struggle.
We are in this together and there is room at the table for more educators ready to join together and speak truth of critical needs that should be addressed such as increasing veteran teacher pay. How many companies enter your best pay your first year (new and clueless) and after 20 years make about 8k more than when you started? 8% increase over 20 years?!? We can do better.
We are not baby-sitters. Summers are not completely off. Anyone cannot be a teacher. It does require a college degree. Our job is not easy. It is not true “If you cannot do-then teach.”
I have heard this and more and it is just.plain.wrong. But finally, our voices are being heard as there is a MASSIVE teacher shortage across the entire USA.
For the first time in my career districts are negotiating and offering incentives for teachers. What we do is challenging and most do not do it for money, but so good for others to see our value and importance then recognize it with more decent wages. Teachers are priceless and I hope this brings the reform and change in mindset we deserve. This season will be hard, but with our voices we can bring about some change!
Teachers-do not let this time in history pass us by! God is doing something in this hardship and making a way. He has heard our prayers. We are some of the most graceful, patient, flexible, persevering people on the planet (this is why we make great teachers), but those traits have often get us run over with long, unpaid hours, little to no yearly raises, increased health insurance expenses (since we have the time to go to the doctor), ridiculous political mandates that have no benefit for the kids just brings about more paperwork. Sometimes I think we do not even take ourselves seriously in an effort to be humble. But when schools were shut down, we stepped up with innovation and new ideas-quickly. This is our time to be heard,show our value, model our professionalism and gifts/talents. We do this with our actions and being willing to have the hard conversations in love for the kids.
The pandemic knocked us down, but we got back up and are now stronger and for the first time seen. The world is watching! This is our time and we are ready!
Do you like voting? Do you like mullets? Do you have a Facebook?
Well, as a teacher, I support all things including bad haircuts. This is a student I will have this year, so if I have to see this haircut every day might as well help him win.
Just click the link at the top. Click the post. Count 29 mullets down. Like the pic that looks like this-he is a sweet kid!
We can discuss why mullets made a comeback and how to stop it on another day. 🤣
In education, you plant the seed, but you do not always see the result. I have been blessed and fortunate to be part of two big stories where teaching and growing come together. It is these stories that keep me going as a classroom teacher despite the rough season of mental health and school safety.
This weekend I got to witness a former student give a graduation speech as valedictorian! A student that set the goal of top in her class in my classroom. What joy to see BOTH valedictorians in the same space!
Teaching is hard, but so fulfilling! My advice to all teachers is plant the seed and step back. It may take awhile, but it will grow! Even if you never see it, something was planted.
I live about 6 hours from Uvalde, Texas the place of a horrific school shooting. I cannot count the number of tears that have been shed over this senseless murder. Sadly, these shootings have become a new norm-but this one shook me hard.
The kids were around the age I teach.
The school was in Texas.
Teachers died trying to save their students.
They followed all the rules. Practiced all the drills and were left to take care of themselves. As teachers, we know our job is important, but it is now dangerous. We are expected to die protecting our students…even if it is not expected-we would do it. They are kids and we love them…it is how we are made and why we are called to teach.
But I am angry at our system.
Those kids had to save themselves. That should not have happened. So much went wrong that it makes me angry and afraid. As a teacher, do I need to defend myself and not rely on the protocols that they give us? The help stood outside the door while kids begged for help to arrive. Even parents were willing to go in…kids saved each other while adults stood outside the door.
Outside the door while multiple 911 calls came in from a room where they thought everyone had died.
I cannot imagine the trauma the survivors will endure the rest of their lives. What if that were my child? It makes me angry.
As teachers, we all relate because really we all experience the same thing. Teachers get teachers. The car lines, the absent parents, report cards, workrooms, low pay, summers, staff development…different school…different city but same experience. We can all relate.
So tonight I struggle because I can relate to Uvalde. Propping the door is never okay, but I have done it because I forgot my keys in my room. Awards assemblies always bring more people on campus which is more chaos, end of year is full of movies and chill time with friends, locked doors can be annoying because you hear knocking all day long. The kids love to lock their friends out or play at the window. I get it. All teachers do.
Yet 2 teachers died along with 19 kids and I cannot wrap my head around the fact they were sitting ducks left for over an hour when every drill I have ever done they say they will get us. Remain quiet until we get you they say.
They did not get them. There is no excuse.
Teaching is one of the hardest professions and this May it just got harder. May God be with the families and city of Uvalde. You are light in the darkness and I pray the catalyst for much needed change and recognition.
One of my favorite things to do is work in the preschool at church. I get to love on babies, play with toddlers, tell little ones about Jesus and SHOW them God’s love on display. Tell each kid that Jesus knows his or her by name.
I get to give parents an hour to worship undistracted by little ones. My time with their children help ls them to feed their souls. Is it loud and crazy…oh yes. But is it important?
Nothing else matters.
The kingdom belongs to these littles. We must be careful to train up the next generation so the church carries on until He returns.
Be the church wherever you fit in using whatever gift He bestowed upon you.
It is everything right now.
One of the best parts about teaching is building relationships. When you have to be with your work family more than your real family then you better like them. I was thankful to work at a place for 15 years where I enjoyed the people. An added bonus is finding a leader that pours into 7 years after she has retired.
Tonight we celebrated this mentor as we caught up and looked back at the good, the bad and the beautiful of education. Thankful she still laughs and cries with us all these years later. Whenever we need her, she is there. Find that mentor or be that mentor; they are more precious than gold!
Covid has wreaked havoc on education. Sub shortages, teachers leaving the profession, kids with anxiety and on medication…now even the leaders are retiring. So the big question is “Why?”
The short answer is apathy. In order to keep schools afloat and not ruin an academic future, schools required as little as possible. We took one grade per week, made most assignments optional, gave a choice to show up in person…we made learning easy and students got comfortable. However, what we were doing was hardly education. We were surviving.
When schools reopened, we again made many things optional and the virtual experience became a joke. Students got a year of very minimal learning as most teachers were forced to do a hybrid learning model. So now even though school was back in session, the learning struggled as teachers were overwhelmed balancing both. Later, Texas tested all of our kids while saying it did not count…was a baseline for the future. Wrong!
HB4545 is attempting to bridge the gaps of the horrific scores that “did not count” while frustrating teachers and making them feel defeated. Students have seen how minimal effort can bring a grade and failing is still nearly impossible so why put in more than the minimal? Then we got the sub issue.
Certain districts pay more than others so subs are really community members that love their community.
Watching the Amazing Race episode 3 when they shut down due to Covid, reminded me I have trauma. Trauma from life shutting down and my job closing. Trauma from sending kids home with one hug and a good bye. Trauma from virtual teaching. Trauma from homeschooling as a teacher. Trauma from learning new things and putting them to use quickly. Trauma from wanting to teach but realizing we are just giving a grade…most kids did as little as possible.
The teacher trauma is real!
Now we have schools with anxious students and teachers and leaders in very stressful situations. Balancing everyone’s mental health and not wanting anyone to break.
So here we are…brave educators digging in deep to ride this out. Kids are fragile so we all must walk carefully. No other job impacts children like teaching and I am here to stay…but things are challenging as you have to choose between scores and sanity.
It is what is, but the more support the better! Parents show you care. Teachers check on each other. Leaders show grace and compassion and serve your staff. Students come to school to learn. We can conquer this together. God is with us and suffering produces perseverance. The answers are complicated, but hope and love are strong and I believe in our business and system.