Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why good teachers don't quit...

Back in Oct. of 2013, the te@chthought blog shared a blog post written by Kay Bisaillon titled, 'Why Good Teachers Quit.' The article is well written and for all intensive purposes, went viral. With over 128,000 likes on Facebook, it's safe to say it struck a chord with many.

A few things before I begin though...

Terry Heick is a phenomenal education mind and has one of the best blogs out there.

Also, the content of the 'Why Good Teachers Quit' blog post is absolutely 100% correct. Teaching is a tough job and it's not for the faint of heart. Working in education is not what it used to be, and it's most certainly becoming more difficult and complex. The education system has placed both purposefully and unintentionally restraints on educators which have profoundly affected their ability to create conditions for students to learn and maintain personal and professional satisfaction.

I'd also like to make note that this isn't about 'good' teachers vs. 'bad' teachers... this is an education issue.

Having said that, I'd like to present the other side of the coin because there are countless teachers who have elected not to quit and have continued to let the positives outweigh the negatives, and their story needs to be told:

Sure, what we know about teaching and how students learn best, seem to be a constantly moving target. This new information takes time to master and takes time to fully implement and put into practice. But, these teachers view being on the cutting edge of new pedagogy and new brain research as something exciting for their students. They view living in a day and age where we know more about learning than we ever have in the history of mankind as game changing. These teachers thrive in this changing world of uncertainty.

Yes, teachers and the education system are under a seemingly unyielding attack from people from all walks of life. This hurts and this stings because we all work hard and we all believe in what we are doing. Having said that, these teachers view this constant barrage of criticism as an opportunity to repair and fix education-community relations. They view what they do every single day as an opportunity to rewrite the story and change the hearts of those who are misinformed.

Is the work-life balance shifting, yes, it is, but it's not just limited to the field of education. Technology has made working outside of work much easier, but in the same breath, the lines of work-life are becoming increasingly blurred because it's hard to honestly separate the two. As educators, it's who we are and it's what we do. We don't and can't just turn off the 'educator' mentality. Of course, the grading and paperwork and stuff that can't be done during the day sometimes comes home with us, but it's becoming increasingly rare to find a job that ends at 4 p.m. The important work teachers are doing has no bounds.

There are also teachers who work in schools where they have a supportive administration that is committed to protecting them from all the nonsense that seems to permeate throughout schools all across the globe. These teachers feel protected and comfortable speaking up about issues that impact and affect them and they are a part of a collaborative culture where teamwork is highly prized.

And most importantly, there are teachers who don't quit because they understand and appreciate the awesome responsibility and opportunity they have to literally change the world and make it a better place for those living and those who've yet to join us. These teachers realize that for many young kids the only chance they have is the door opened by an education. They also realize that if they aren't the ones in schools helping these students, then who will? Lastly, they realize this isn't somebody else's problem... this is an all of us kind of problem.

Sure, we are losing some good teachers and some not so good teachers due the changing landscape of education. But, we've also been retaining some great educators within our ranks, and the last time I checked an open teaching position in my district, there's no shortage of highly qualified candidates looking to impact the world...