Teachers: we have this year to write a part for ourselves in a child's life. To write a scene for ourselves in a student's life. To influence a young person, a teenager, a young adult in the writing of their life account. It might seem a small role. But we are crucial in that we are those who can make a difference.
Sometimes as teachers I feel we forget that we have priorities. There are some things more important than others. Curriculum is necessary, but if the house is on fire, that document is not coming with me. Outcomes are necessary but if the room is under threat, I will not give them a moment's notice. Lesson plans are useful, but if a child's life is at risk, that carefully laid-out plan for my day would be the last thing on my mind.
You've heard of the recent attacks on women's healthcare in the States, but in Canada, we're feeling the impact too. For 50 years, Planned Parenthood Ottawa has been there for our community, providing unbiased counselling, education, advice and support. But it's become increasingly hard to do our work. Planned Parenthood is under attack, by people who oppose healthcare for women and the trans community, who don't want youth to get the education they need, and who dedicate themselves to cutting our funding every way they can.
I am coming to realize more and more all the time that the overall public perception of teachers on the outside is at times negative. That perception is characterized by whininess, over-pay, indulgence, laziness, self-centeredness and servility. This image will probably remain until change occurs, both within and without education. Teachers are at times unaware of the image we occasionally present to the public. Perhaps it is time that we as teachers begin to re-invent this negative image
Dear teachers, Quite honestly, we can hardly believe the school year is quickly coming to a close. But we also realize that this last mile toward the finish line is a treacherous one. This is the reality of the work you teachers do. Believe us: your acts of kindness do not fall by the wayside unnoticed.
As you can imagine, many university teachers loathe this site completely. In fact, it's not so much a teaching evaluation, as a review of the student experience in the class. It completely ignores all important contexts of where the course fits in the program of study, and why the teaching methods chosen were used, resources available to the teacher to help teach the course, and other necessary background information.
While I clean shelves and wipe down cupboards, readying things for those little bodies and minds, I ready my own mind. Clean out the cobwebs, so to speak. I need my head to be in the game, need my thoughts to be organized. Need my mind to be clear. For when all is said and done, it's not the classroom that houses the potential and possibility to make this year the best one ever for my incoming class: it's me.
Be kind to yourself -- don't hold yourself to ridiculous standards. Try not to stress about the little things that no one will remember anyway. Get more rest. Go for walks. Exercise. Recharge. And although it might be unreasonable to ask that you leave your work troubles at your desk, try not to become a slave to your work.
I know the Bantlemans, and I too have taught at international schools in Asia. I met my husband--a guy from Edmonton--in the Middle East, and we had twins in Bangkok. I know the lure and the realization of what Mrs. Bantleman describes as wanting "to learn more about the culture and the people" of a far off land. I also can imagine how powerless you would be if incarcerated in a foreign country.
If we convey negative or suspicious attitudes about other cultures and ethnicities, our kids will pick up on these and replicate our behaviour. "Monkey see, monkey do" is real so keep this in mind and remember to convey a positive and open attitude about other cultures, particularly around your children.
"You'll never amount to anything. You'll never be much. You're a problem child." So he was told. And I had all but forgotten when she reminded me yet again, as we were talking just the other day, about the cruelty of words and how shattering they can be when ill-spoken. And he'll never forget those words.