Teacher Reboot: Lesson from the Schoolhouse

Teaching is a noble profession, but leaving a teacher to deal with EVERYTHING in a school setting is not fair. Teachers need support! 

I recently taught for a semester where there was no collegiality between some staff members. A member of the teaching staff decided to turn our school into a political firestorm and a teacher popularity contest. That teacher is the only one participating in the contest so that teacher wins. While other teachers work tirelessly to enforce school rules, acceptable behavior, and learning, one teacher turns the students against the other teachers.

It is highly inappropriate and not very professional for a teacher to become friends with middle level students. Now, don’t get me wrong here, because we do want to develop meaningful and lasting relationships with our students, but there is a fine line that teachers need to walk between friendship and friendliness. It is also very unprofessional to put down a fellow teacher with students. Professional relationships require a collegial attitude and teachers need to approach students and teaching as a team. The days of the lone ranger, I close my door and teach, are gone. No teacher has ever made real progress in education by thinking that what they have is best for the students and nothing can be learned from other teachers.

As teachers, we should always strive to bring our “A game” for the students we teach and for the teachers we work with. I made it my mission to Teach Like A Pirate (@burgessdave) this school year, but it shocked me how easily one person could knock the wind right out of my sails. When students refuse to learn, refuse to behave, refuse to follow directions, refuse to participate what can a teacher do? 

New teachers, please do not scoff at your colleagues in front of your students. Please do not commiserate with your students negatively about another teacher. Try to learn from everyone around you. That old teacher that everyone complains about just may be able to impart some kernels of wisdom if you don’t take the effort to make life more difficult for that teacher.

What did I learn from my semester in negativille? Surround your self with great people and if you can’t find those great people nearby, then leave to find them. Life is too short to be surrounded by negativity. Sometimes in order to live life to its fullest we need to go back to our roots and reboot. 

Rebooting now.