It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

Most have experienced education, and some enough that they feel like they can offer advice to educators. It is hard to imagine non-educators not critiquing educators in today’s world. However, that does not mean we need to provide them with content to use against us!

It is not the education critic who counts

Vent Safely

Teachers need to vent. But it should really stay within “the family.” The family you live with who already know how dedicated you are and that you are just blowing off steam. Otherwise, other teachers would understand that you are complaining, but not about being a teacher! Your venting is not a criticism of the students or even education, but more likely things blocking maximizing both of those. Do not embolden an education critic by providing a quote by you of temporary frustrations. Your temporary verbal break in form might be used against you or another educator. so vent safely.

Be Fair

Summer. That makes all teachers smile of course. Yet somehow the general public has a negative connotation with that portion of our work year. Not just Summer, but Winter and Spring holidays sometimes irritate the public. The public which of course does not know that teachers do not just work the hours that students are in school. Teachers also work at school events. Teachers tutor. Teachers go to Parent-Teacher Association meetings. Teachers complete advanced degrees. Teacher rewrite lesson plans. Teachers pursuing their own Professional Learning. And OMGoodness do teachers grade papers – on the vast majority of teacher couches in this country how many papers have been graded?!?
Do people you know who are not teachers know that? Or do they just see your Instagrams from Spring Break? Because to an education critic who does not understand that you work much more than when in a room with your students it might seem confusing. DO not just boast and count down to those holidays, but also share how hard we all work. Be fair in your treatment of holidays.

Ignore Them

Don’t be afraid to ignore education critics. Sometimes they are judging you against some 1950s fantasy/nightmare that you have no control over. You cannot change how their education impacted them, but you can rest assured that you are doing your personal best to not let your current students have a poor experience. Sometimes when an education critic feels like they might be losing their audience they might bring up the fact that they pay your salary. Which is of course as true as the votes of individual citizens select the President of the United States – Al Gore can tell you about that. If you stop engaging with a fight without an end you might be happier for it – and that education critic can go on to another topic or another educator.

It is hard to imagine non-educators not critiquing educators in today’s world. However, that does not mean we need to provide them with content to use against us!