A Major Challenge Teachers Face as School is Starting

Sometimes, the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.

I have to say I do not envy teachers who are headed back to school this fall, and for those who are already at it, I hope you are doing okay. What is happening in the country at the moment is hard enough for adults to understand. I cannot imagine trying to explain it to children. Yet, at some point, depending on the age and maturity of the children you teach, you will need to try to explain it.

Most classrooms operate like mini-democracies.

Students are taught basic fundamentals of respect for adults in the room and their classmates. They are told that it isn’t okay to hit, bite, or punch their classmates, although I am told that hitting, biting, and punching is on the rise in some areas. (I was told this by an HR person for a large school district, so I trust it to be an accurate depiction of what is happening in some places.)

Bullying is not allowed in our classrooms. In spite of that basic premise, we are all well aware that bullying has become a national epidemic.

As teachers, we emphasize the importance of fundamental fairness and respect for authority and for one another in our classrooms.

We also teach that facts matter. And (I hope) we teach that history, when ignored, has a bad habit of repeating itself.

We don’t just teach the fundamental curriculum. We teach students the importance of caring and sharing and having empathy for one another.

How in the world does a teacher teach these fundamental concepts to impressionable children when the leaders of the free world–and I am not just talking about the President of the United States but any leader in Congress or any state official who is guilty of arguing on national TV that somehow, two wrongs make a right? Because at the moment, that is exactly what I hear many of them are doing.

I am writing this post because I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing adults argue that just because one group did something wrong it is somehow okay for the other group to do something wrong.

THIS IS WRONG.

Two wrongs do NOT make a right…they make for two wrongs that build on one another and only exacerbate an already bad situation.

As teachers, it is your challenge to somehow communicate that in spite of whatever your students may be hearing on TV or in community discourse, fundamental goodness, honesty, integrity, and justice are not things of the past.

We must keep those concepts alive if we are to survive as a civil and just society. It is imperative that every teacher in the country make this their number challenge for this year.

Please don’t succumb to cynicism.

I know it is easy to get sucked into the nastiness. Please hold yourself above the fray. Please remember that we need you to stay strong. We need you to be good role models for our children.

Don’t give in out of weariness that all this craziness is creating in all of us. You may be the only example of goodness that your children get to see! It is up to you to be a light. It is up to you to bring about an understanding of what civil discourse is all about. It is up to you to try to maintain a cool head in spite of the confusion going on around you.

It is a heavy burden, and I am sorry to lay it on you, but I worry about where we are headed if cooler heads–and kinder hearts–don’t prevail here.

 

Respect/disrespect give and earn respectful a different and other opinion or view

I write this blog for “teachers in distress,” and I am usually writing for those who have considered that maybe they have come to the end of their teaching career. I help those folks figure out what else they might do instead of teaching.

But today’s post is dedicated to those teachers who are showing up in the nation’s classrooms now and in the weeks to come. You must meet the challenge ahead of you. I don’t envy you, but I am glad you are there. Your children need you. Your country needs you.

Equality Rights Balance Fair Justice Ethics Concept

 

Whether you teach civics or history or math…whether you teach 5th grade or kindergarten…we need you to be the voice of reason. We need you to bring a sense of balance and justice and ethical decision-making to your job every single day. We need you to teach your children about fairness and individual rights. We need you to do all of these things.

Thank you for being a teacher. I appreciate you more than you can possibly know and today more than ever.

Until next time.

 

 

It’s “Back to School” Time!

Back to School

It’s “Back to School” time! Sales for school supplies, school clothes and shoes have all started. Even if the school doesn’t start for you until after Labor Day, you have already started thinking about going back, I bet.

In my last post, I recommended that if you are a teacher and you are contemplating your return to school for another year, it may be a good idea to do a “gut check.”

After writing about that, I had teachers tell me that they literally feel sick to their stomachs when they contemplate going back for another year.

That isn’t good.

Here is what I know for sure.

If you go back with an attitude that you are just hanging on by your fingernails, your kids will sense it. You aren’t going to be having any fun, and neither are they.

It bothers me that teacher burnout seems to be on the upswing. After all, if everyone left teaching all of a sudden, what would happen to our kids? Who would teach them?

On the other hand, if you are a teacher who is experiencing the pain and heartache of burnout, it is a cinch that you aren’t doing your best work anymore, and you owe it to your kids to either get your burnout handled or look for something else to do.

Taking care of the burnout may be the simplest approach. Have you taken advantage of the free e-book I wrote a couple of years ago on stress management? If not, I invite you to take a look at it. It is a simple, straightforward approach to 7 strategies for managing stress more effectively and proactively. Burnout is the result of stress gone unmanaged for too long.

Take a look at the book and download it by clicking here:  http://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/ebook.

Stressed, Stretched, and Just Plain                               Overwhelmed ebook

If you aren’t sure if you are experiencing burnout, perhaps you would benefit from checking out my free 7 Signs of Teacher Burnout Assessment. To download the assessment for free, click here:  https://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/7-signs-of-teacher-burnout/.

If your burnout goes beyond needing simple stress management techniques, it may be time to explore other career alternatives. As a Career Transition and Job Search Coach, I specialize in helping teachers who are feeling burned out explore their career options.

For many teachers, just knowing that you have options helps alleviate some of the sense of being stuck where you aren’t happy anymore.

So, I urge you to take note of how you feel as you consider going back to school this fall. If you are excited and looking forward to it, good for you.

If you are filled with dread at the prospect, it may be time to get help. Contact me by visiting my website at TeachersinTransition.com.

Sign up for a complimentary Discovery Session. I would love to talk with you to see if I can help.

Until next time.