I am just a teacher.
You are not “just” a teacher. You – are – a – teacher! And teachers close the door and have the undivided attention of the young for impressive stretches of time. You set the weather for their learning each time you teach. You show them not how to be perfect, but how to chase improvement; you set them up for a lifetime of resilience.You are an authority to them. Very few people in those young little lives enjoy such a position of power and esteem.
Just? Please, you are powerful beyond what most people will ever be in any career. Do not let the other daunting elements of your job overtake the most powerful facet of your chosen profession. You are in charge of what you prioritize behind your closed-door.
You are a teacher to how many children? Wow.
How could I convince the school/district to try this?
Wrong question. The question should be “how can they stop me from trying it?”
It is often easier to get a “yes” out of people after you have already taken the risk out of something by proving it can be done, done well in fact, and wouldn’t they like to be in on the credit with you?
So if you have a desire to try something just make it happen and then welcome others on to your bandwagon.
I want to do [specific position], but there is not a position – so why bother doing [specific action]?
Now a days many of us see a need for a dedicated instructional specialists at each building. And *many* schools scoff at that idea; they say there will never be funding for that type of position….until there is. Positions like that can come up suddenly and the one thing you can control is if you will be ready when a position becomes open.
You can start right now by voluntarily helping those in your grade level, on your hall, in your school. Yes, it is extra work. However, I have seen where teachers are eventually able to negotiate with their administrators for an extra planning period or some offset to their workload, acknowledging their extra area of expertise. Worst case your administrator is not willing to acknowledge your extra efforts, that might be a signal to move on. If s/he is unwilling to compensate you for your extra efforts s/he either does not value those skills or does not value you (ouch, right?). But every once in a while life sends us signals to move on.
The point is identify a need/position you want to fill. Do it voluntarily until you demonstrate that you are the person for the job. Expect acknowledgement of your skill set or be prepared to pull back from volunteering/look for another place which offers a better fit.
But whatever position you are interested in, just make certain you have prepared yourself for the position when it becomes available!
It is easier to just go with the flow.
Sometimes it is so tempting to just show up and pass out the worksheets, hide out at your desk, and use the textbook instead of working with the students. Anyone can have a bad day, but everyday you get to start over again. Do not give up and squander your daily opportunity to be the difference to any of your students.
Meetings do not need to be a battle every time, but do know the non-negotiables that you need to stand-up for to live with yourself. Do not be opposed to every idea others offer, but do stand-up for your non-negotiables consistently. You want others to know your heart for your students, sometimes that means standing up against the crowd.
Be you, there is a reason you were called to teach.
There is only so much credit to go around.
Celebrate others who earn the spotlight. Do not make the mistake of thinking their success equals your failure. By lifting up the students and teachers around you you are contributing to the community who will celebrate you too. A growth mindset knows that there is not a finite amount of success. You can create your own success and it is not diminished by those around you succeeding, but amplified by the community celebrating each other.
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