Though it’s somewhat disorienting to see I have posted in over ten days, I am going to cut myself some slack–writers need some time off the keyboard once in awhile. Something incredibly fortunate came my way recently, and that is an opportunity to gain my ELL Endorsement via my district and Pacific Lutheran. This coursework began about a week ago and will continue through the summer, and parallels my prior commitment to the WABS/STEM Fellowship. And the new curriculum, and new students, and new new new new. Steady, lady! It’s going to be okay!
Working collaboratively, learning new things and ideas, and then practicing them in my classroom is pure joy for me, and I would wager the secret sauce for many other teachers, too. It’s at the heart of what we strive for our students: the world of work, family, and society may look very different to them. It’s not about the latest technology or gimmick: it’s always been about communicating and being part of communities.
However, we teachers have been systematically demoralized. Sometimes the criticism is valid–teachers can be racist, bigoted, small-minded, intellectually stagnant, just like others in the general population. For those teachers, I have little sympathy for your burn-out. Your job is to prepare all students for a world and future you may not be around to see, but if you can’t imagine it, it’s going to be difficult to get them there.
But that is not what I see. I see colleagues, friends, and family who help children every day, whether they’re in the classroom or not. Who understand the balance of putting students and children first by also supporting the adults. And if you ever feel discouraged, I’m going to let you borrow my son Daniel’s words–he’s going to a local community college and has met a few of my former students. Each one told him I was the best teacher they had.
You, yes, I’m talking to you, are also one of the best teachers your students ever had. Your work matters, and it’s valued. Take heart–you’ve got this.