In response to the post, “Teacher Stress – Part 9,” a reader writes:
“This was a great post because it clearly holds all of our feet to the fire, teachers and administrators. What we all need to remember is that our purpose in education is to do what is in the best interest of our students at all times. That may mean that there are moments when we as adults are made to feel uncomfortable, but it is not personal. It is not about being mean, or not liking someone. That is personal. Rather it is about doing what will keep our students moving forward at the greatest speed possible while creating opportunities for the adults to grow as leaders in the school. This post will be required reading for my staff.”
You are right. The post did a very good job of outlining critical professional behaviors that set us up to achieve our mission. That mission being to maximize student potential. The key, of course, being the concept of ‘professional.’ Unfortunately, the understanding of what it takes to be a true professional is somewhat lacking in our field. If you don’t believe me, read Schmoker, Fullan, etc. The good news is that as a staff becomes more professional the school quickly moves ahead of the pack.
However, I’m going to reverse myself somewhat and state for the record that I want more teachers to make their jobs more personal. But here is what I want this to look like. I want teachers to quit taking personal credit for every student success and using that success as “proof” of their both their effectiveness and the lack of ability / motivation of less successful students. Instead I want them to take personal responsibility for every student failure and use that failure as proof that there are holes in our craft and in our systems that have to be identified and corrected. When that happens, teachers will finally begin to demand and utilize the resources that a true profession brings to bear.
We are fortunate that in our profession that when we fail, no one dies, goes to jail, or loses their business. But until we collectively start acting like the stakes are that high, we will continued to be described as “the unprofessional profession.”
Think. Work. Achieve.