Friday, June 24, 2011

Want a better teaching position? Stop saying "It's fine"

Do you feel like you have too much on your plate? Do you not have enough time to do everything you need to do at school? Do you feel like your school is not really serving your students? Are you not happy with communication between you and your colleagues or your principal?

This summer is a good time to reflect, and to commit to stop saying, "It's ok."

If you are not fulfilled at your school, you are not doing the best job you can be doing for your students. If many teachers at your school are unhappy, you are doing your students a disfavor. If you are afraid to share how you feel, you need to learn to stand up for yourself.

What would you do if a student was having a hard time in math class? Would you say it's ok and ignore the problem? No. You would admit that you are stuck. You would get advice from other teachers and administrators. And then, you would make some changes to address the situation.

You might be thinking, but I can't do that with my job. The economy, my principal never listens, nothing will every change, there are not that many teaching positions etc.

Think back to your student. What would you say when he or she said, "I just can't learn math. It's hopeless." I hope you would challenge that student's thinking!

It's time you challenged your own thinking. Maybe what is bothering you can be changed for the better!

Back to the student. If the child was convinced that he or she couldn't learn math, you wouldn't start with calculus. You would start with the basics. You might start with addition. You might have a peer tutor the student. You would set up support for the student. You would not encourage the student to talk with other students about how he or she will just never learn to do math and how hopeless the situation is!

Back to you! If you feel frustrated, try not to hang out with other people who are talking about how the school will never change. Can you see how that doesn't make any sense? Find teachers who are happy at the school. Ask them about what they are doing. Observe them in the classroom. Find teachers who are comfortable talking with your principal and have gotten things changed in the school. What are they doing.

It is time to stop saying "it's fine," if everything is not ok! When you take a stand for yourself, you end up empowering students and making a difference in not only your life, but their lives too. Take a stand for yourself and for your students.

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