Trust me... You're Doing Great!
Every news article I seem to read at the minute about education seems to always have a negative tone. Just to quote one I read today -
"There is nothing anecdotal about this. A recent YouGov poll commissioned by the NUT teaching union suggests 53 per cent of teachers are thinking of quitting in the next couple of years. News reports earlier this year revealed that four out of 10 teachers quit within a year of qualifying. And 11,000 young teachers leave the profession before they have even completed their development as educators. The exodus has almost tripled in six years and there is much talk of a teacher recruitment crisis.
This waste of talent, enthusiasm and youthful idealism is shocking. It is also staggeringly expensive. There is a similar crisis at the other end of the profession, with more experienced teachers shaking their heads as their accumulated knowledge is dismissed as worthless after a lifetime in the job."
Now I am not going to go into the reasons why I think there is a worrying trend in teachers leaving the profession, you only have to read certain tweets or discussion threads. I usually ask teachers on my training what are the two jobs that take most of your time? The response is the same - marking and planning. I then go on to show how technology can be used to save time with these tasks and have more of an impact with children.
I gave the new twitter poll feature a go last weekend asking the question -
In this blog post, I want to try and remind teachers why they initially chose teaching. No teacher chose teaching to assess or to plan but rather to inspire, to engage and to make a difference. A few years ago, I did some market research looking at the best way to try and engage people to go into teaching. One of the questions was 'What made you choose teaching?' It was a question I stewed on for a while but answered with something along the lines of - I wanted to create memories. I wanted to make memories that would stay with children throughout their whole lives, memories that would influence their choice in career, memories that would show them that anything is possible and memories that would mould them into knowledgeable, positive, considerate people. I recently asked teachers everywhere to share why they chose teaching. They answered on the following padlet wall -
I didn't know that years of school and a college degree would be of little
consolation when facing a room full of bright little eyes on the
first day of school. I thought I was ready...
I didn't know that five minutes can seem like five hours when there is
idle time and an eight hour school day far too short for a
well-planned day of teaching.
I didn't know that teaching children was only a fraction of my job.
No one tells you about the conferences and phone calls, faculty meetings, committees, paperwork and paperwork...
I didn't know that it took so long to cut out letters, draw and color pictures,
laminate-all for those bulletin boards that were always "just there"...
I didn't know that I would become such a scavenger, and that teaching
materials would feel like pure gold in my hands...
I didn't know that an administration and co-workers that support
and help you could make such a difference...
I didn't know that there would be children that I loved and cared for
and stayed up late worrying about, who, one day,
would simply not show up.
And that I would never see them again...
I didn't know that I can't always dry little tears and mend broken hearts.
I thought I could always make a difference...
I didn't know that the sound of children's laughter could drown
out the sound of all the world's sadness...
I didn't know that children could feel so profoundly.
A broken heart knows no age.
I didn't know that a single "yes ma'am" from a disrespectful child
or a note in my desk that says "You're the best!" could make me feel like
I'm on top of a mountain and forget the valleys I forged to get there...
I never knew that after one year of teaching I would feel so much
wiser, more tired, sadder and happier, all at once.
And that I would no longer call teaching my job,
but my privilege.
The work can wait while you show the child the rainbow,
but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work.
I never question the dedication of teachers, we work incredibly hard! If there are ways in which technology can help use work smarter than harder, embrace it! Most teachers are doing their absolute best and so you're doing great! Keep going! You may well have recently seen the incredible gesture from the New Zealand Rugby Player - Sonny Bill Williams (you can read about it here.) This quote from him sums up the message I am trying to get across in this blog post -