Will the teachers in the room stand up?

super-teacher1You are awesome. You are amazing. You are selfless. You rock.

You are professionals who are off this summer, and you DON’T get paid for that time, even though people, especially politicians, forget that. Even though you’re off, most of you have spent untold hours earning professional development credit in classes over your content area or classroom skills, taking post-graduate classes to earn advanced degrees and/or attending, possibly teaching, workshops with students who will come back and play on your teams or work on your staffs.

Summer is your time to refill the well. Teaching is an art, and teachers are artists, so refilling the creative well is absolutely essential. Rest, relax. You’ve earned it, and you desperately need it.

But

Don’t forget the importance of what we do.

Years ago I attended a conference where a renowned educational speaker asked this question:

If Starbucks were to run out of coffee, what would their response be?

We all sat and laughed imagining that scenario. The manager would be on the phone to every nearby Starbucks looking for more coffee. The baristas would be ready to jump in their cars to go retrieve that coffee even if it meant a 90-minute drive to make that happen. The Starbucks team would work as a unit to get that coffee, whatever it took. In all likelihood they wouldn’t be OUT of coffee…if they waited until it was too late and there was no coffee, the consequences would be severe. People would lose hours, jobs would be lost and customers would be irate.

If a student isn’t learning or is struggling to learn, and we don’t work together as a team to do everything in our power to help them learn, we’re not talking about hours and jobs lost and irate customers. We’re talking about the failure of the United States as a whole. We’re talking about kids who become adults on public assistance for life or worse.

One day I was talking to a nurse who said, “I realize your job is hard, but my job is life and death.”

I agreed with her then.

Now that I’m working in a city that is drastically changing from upper middle class to middle class to lower middle class to where we are now…where most of the children in our district qualify for free or reduced lunch, I totally disagree. It might not be as visible, but when we walk into the classrooms, our jobs ARE life and death.

Remember that as you go to your workshops and classes and think of the cool lesson plans for next year.

I know we can’t do this alone. It takes a village and all that. But we are on the front lines. When we walk on our campuses, every student there belongs to us…not just the ones in our classes. We are the heroes, and this is more than a job.

Enjoy your summer. You’ve earned it.

*************

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One response to “Will the teachers in the room stand up?

  1. Well, said. You are so articulate. I just hope a lot of outsiders from education understand what teachers go through, and what they really do. WE need to get the word out. Our image has been so very damaged over the last few years.

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