Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Truth in Teaching is Sometimes a Lonely Path

Sometimes sharing truthful observations and thoughts create a lonely path.

Sometimes asking questions related to those observations and thoughts turns people off. Often playing the game or turning a blind eye is preferred.

To move against the expected culture, structure, and organization creates disruption, frustration, and perhaps even anger at times.

And sometimes one is punished for truth and care.

Teachers are on the front line with little time left for conversation or collaboration. Mostly it is the teacher and many children together learning, creating, and moving forward.

If a teacher has a big idea or thought, it is usually a long, complicated journey to fruition--a sometimes lonely journey with little support.

Many still see the teacher as the factory worker, the front line, the "do-it" person, not the thinking, decision making, collaborative member of the team. Many don't equate professional with teacher.

This is one aspect of my profession that I don't like, and one reason why I would caution my children toward a career in teaching.  It is difficult to see promise and potential, but have little voice or decision making power.

Some will argue that teachers do have voice, and if they use their voice well and right, then change will happen. Using voice "well and right" differs from organization to organization as culture differs from school system to school system.

I've tried many paths in the past few years.  Some small paths have succeeded in small ways.  Other paths have reached a dead end.  Like many educators, I've worked over time (double time in many cases) most days to do what's expected, and then on my own time built new ideas, craft, learning and effort to move my practice forward.  I've done that so I can meet the current expectations while also doing what I know is good and right for children as education evolves. That, as you know, takes a toll on one's family life--a toll that in some cases may be too big a price to pay to do work you believe in.  Yet, as many know, substantial, positive change and work demands sacrifice.

Once I rest up after the latest closed path, I'll seek new and better ways to collaborate, share, learn and move forward. I'm not giving up, but I must say I am discouraged.

In the end, I will continue to serve children as well as I can. I will continue to work with children's needs, passions and interests in mind.  I will look for ways to grow with strength. This weekend's edcamp will be an energizing retreat--one that will spur my future research and work.

Teaching can be a lonely path--all teachers who dream big know that.