In schools there's the great need to lead oneself to betterment. There's many reasons why this is such an independent task. Ideally I wish the effort were more collective, however, often school structures prevent the kind of camaraderie that inspires, energizes, and leads.
New ideas are often met with silence by many beyond the collegial level--some believe that those that teach should not think; those people feel that educators are suppose to take orders, not create, think, collaborate, or better craft and effort. As you can imagine, this creates great challenge since the essence of the teaching/learning job is growth, learning, and betterment. A true mismatch.
When this occurs, it's essential that educators lead themselves forward with good energy, collegial collaboration, outside agencies and inspiration, reflection, goals, and vision. That's why I write so much, I write to lead my work and effort and to essentially cheer myself on in the sometimes lonely and isolating life of schools.
As I look ahead, I'm a bit sad that so much of my advocacy and efforts to communicate, share ideas, and develop with regard to administrative support has not been successful. Whenever I attend a learning event, try something new, or have an idea, I share, and rarely to never do I receive any kind of response. I'm ignored and the mainstay of communication I receive are mandates--jobs lists. It's disconcerting because this kind of attention is opposed to the reading I've done about inspired organizations, teacher empowerment/leadership, and systematic growth.
Some say, why would you stay if you don't receive the kind of support you desire. That's a good question, one that points me in the direction of valuing the tools, students, families, and fair salary that have kept me teaching in this realm for so long. I like the fact that I can teach here, but I struggle with the tasks and treatment that often have me worried late into the night many nights--treatment that is quite demeaning and belittling.
So what's a teacher to do?
Obviously the efforts I've made to impact leadership, structure, and teacher treatment have been mostly unsuccessful. The forces that be don't want to change and have little regard for me or my ideas. That's clear. So as many a colleague suggests, it's time to give up on those efforts. Why share ideas, information, and questions if no one answers, responds, or shows any interest. Obviously in their eyes, I'm only worth what I can do on my own in the classroom with respect to the mandates and decisions they've made.
Thankfully there are some administrators, students, families, and educator colleagues have been the source of great positive energy, challenge, and strength. Each day kind families send their children to school with good energy, confidence, and interest. Students work hard to contribute to a positive culture. They are positive, communicative, and creative and both a joy and challenge to teach as they expect and inspire the best of me. Colleagues who share a similar role are also a great support as they, like me, strive to teach the children well each day.
In the days ahead, I need to reach in to teach well. I have to stop reaching out beyond to effect policy and structure as there seems to be no hope in that. I will do what I can within the parameters set to teach well. The afternoon has been taken up by yet another act of disrespect--hours wasted that could have been spent working enthusiastically and energetically towards a positive collective goal and betterment. This is the way it is, and it's time to turn in to gain energy for the good work and goals ahead.