Thanks to social media communities and participation in local, state, and national level professional organizations and conferences, I have been able to see the state of education from the people in the trenches across the country – and even hearing about it from teachers overseas.
This offers a much larger perspective than I had in the first couple of years of teaching where I knew what was happening only in my home district – and really only in my building at that.
I’ve talked to many about the wonderful things that are happening in their classrooms and schools, but I’ve also, even from the most positive teachers, heard frustration. It’s not just politics and reform and teacher bashing headlines that are dragging teachers down (though that does certainly account for a great deal of it). The professional climate and culture of a building our district can be affected by any number of things, but all of those things affect the teachers.
And in turn those things affect our students.
So when I was able to hear Lily Eskelsen speak this morning and she said (in the retelling of a story she’d heard) the most sad but beautiful question I’ve ever heard:
“What would this school look like if you were proud to work here?”
I know most teachers are proud of the work they do in their classrooms – that’s to be expected. Most even have good things to say about their students and colleagues. But having pride is more than saying nice things – it’s satisfaction, it’s connectedness, it’s finding joy in working together.
This question seems like it could inspire some powerful discussion for faculties about what that school would look like, how it would work – and how to make it happen.