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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Veteran Teachers: Have an Open Mind!

I'm a veteran teacher. Next year will be my 30th year teaching young children. I've learned a lot in that time.

Recently I read an article that stated that most teachers who are bullied by administration in schools are teachers who have taught for a long time and do a good job. I didn't find that surprising for many reasons. As veteran teachers, we've witnessed multiple initiatives over the years. We've seen new ideas come and go, and our voices have sometimes been dismissed or ignored. It's challenging to work in a position where the expectations are essentially the same on the first day you start the job and the last day of your professional career.

Yet, there's been a lot of positive change in schools in recent years. There's also been challenging changes. However, I believe the direction toward greater teacher leadership, voice, and choice is positive and should not be dismissed. As veteran teachers, we can support these changes with a positive mindset, willingness to speak up and share our experience, and by getting involved to support this positive change. At times veteran teachers may use their discouragement and frustration to relay negativity, lack of support, or even unkind acts toward colleagues--this is unacceptable and we all have to resist the urge to act this way in regard to the challenges we may face.

Rather than lamenting, "yet another change," we can look deeply at change, and find ways to support what's positive and revise what could be better. We can re-look at individuals, initiatives, and resources that we might have thought unhelpful, and evaluate those efforts with depth and purpose. Our best efforts will be embraced if we are positive, proactive, truthful, and supportive. We can work to move past troubling and problematic situations with the support of our unions, professional learning networks, colleagues, and the families and students we serve.

Veteran employees in almost any field are apt to face prejudice and disdain from time to time, and I believe we can respond to those challenging responses by continuing to develop our craft, share our experience with positivity, and collaborating with colleagues old and new and near and far to do good work and serve children well.