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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's Worth Fighting for in Your School?

My friend Julie Lindsay has a great post worth reading called "What's Worth Fighting for in Your School?"

I think that any time a teacher is working towards change, there is that head in the hands moment when one closes their eyes and weighs the struggle versus the opportunity to decide if it is worth it to get back up and continue the fight for change.

How will you get up again?
Like a boxer who is fighting and beaten up and at the bell falls into their corner onto a chair to be doctored up and fight again.

And as I contemplate this metaphor, I think that whether one continues to go on depends a lot on who they go to between rounds.

Do you have a mentor? Do you have someone to encourage you and help you see perspective? Do you have someone to encourage you and counterbalance the licks that you're taking as you work towards change?

Also, you have to ask yourself... are you training well in your off time? Are you equipped?

These are things I ask myself often when I'm bone tired (as I am today.) Is it worth it?

When the answer becomes "no" for too long a period of time it is time to retire, get a new profession or swap schools.

We are inundated with teachers sitting complacently at their desks awaiting retirement while the students run slipshod all over the classroom. In fact, some super activist groups are now looking to pay "bad" teachers to retire. (An effort, which I believe, won't help a thing and is demeaning to teachers!)

When it is not worth the fight to get papers graded on time or hold down your classroom or spend extra time with a student is struggling... when it is not worth the time to learn all of their names and know something personal about them. When it is not worth the fight to care and sometimes fight a student's own desire to remain uneducated... it is time to stop!

But there are a lot of us who pick up our banner and fight this fight every day! We have decided it is worth it. I believe heartily that the answer for me is "Yes!"

This is why I believe that teaching is the most noble calling on earth! We work hard and fight to do what is right when we know that no one will notice. We love our students knowing that sometimes it means we write out a discipline form and sometimes it means we tear it up.

We work hard and do extra things to inspire our students. We work to become excited about our subject, sucking down caffeine when we know that we are going to have to talk a bit in class and need to be extra exciting!

We fight for the right thing... for the underdog...to promote a desire for excellence.

This is the teacher I celebrate and applaud and despite what people think... it is more teachers that most people realize.

Honestly, parents would never be happy until every child in the world is at the 100th percentile and top of their class. And if you understand percentiles and class rank, you'll know that that is a mathematical impossibility.

So, we are faced with an impossibility of EVER pleasing most people and so most of us (of the faith) work for an audience of ONE.

Understand the nobility of educating
The time has changed here in Georgia USA and I'm down right crabby. I'm fussy and it is the end of the grading period.

So, I'm writing this to myself as much as to you to tell you that TEACHING IS THE GREATEST PROFESSION ON THE PLANET. (As long as you're called to teach and if not, then it is HELL!)

Few things can truly be "yours" but your classroom is one of them. What happens there or doesn't happen there is entirely up to you.

You can make it a safe place where you do the right thing (even when unpopular) and leave a mark for years to come.

I'm here to inspire. I'm here to do more. I'm here to be more. I'm here because I love it. I'm here because I want to be.

I am a teacher and I'm proud of it!

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