Tidbits for Teachers are regular SHORT inspirations to bring hope and encouragement to teachers in all settings. I hope to give you a shot in the arm and remind you why you chose this career in the first place.
Teachers have many jobs beyond teaching, and supposedly those other jobs help you become a better educator. Data collection has its place, but I am not sure I agree it makes my lessons better. Mandates from the government are important to follow, because they help you keep your job, but they don’t help you help Johnny learn to read. Testing is a thing, but it shouldn’t be the only thing. Committees, grade levels, professional learning, staff development are all required, but none of them can replace having a hunch that a student is acting out because they would rather be the trouble maker than the kid who doesn’t know how to read. Ultimately, your intuition is your most important feature. It cannot be taught or forced or bullied or measured out of you. You get it from experience. It is that simple. All of these other “jobs” take away the time it takes to gain the experience you need.
So how are teachers to improve their practice? Close your door and teach. I am not saying don’t do the things required of you. You will lose your job if you don’t show up for all the meetings. I am saying put less importance on anything that is not actual teaching. Close your door and teach. Do what you know to do. Collaborate with your students. They are the ones who matter. Plan with them what they want to do to learn the material. Close your door and teach. Avoid teacher drama. Close your door and teach. Walk away from administrative bullying. Close your door and teach. Adjust to the latest in a long line of standard changes. Close your door and teach. Rid yourself of anxiety and angst about possible changes politically. Close your door and teach. It takes discipline to walk away from pressure packed meetings that tell you how to do your job, which is contrary to what you know. It requires laser focus to put ‘things that are not helpful’ into the correct perspective and recognize how much they take you away from actual teaching. Close your door and teach. It takes guts to teach your students developmentally appropriate lessons. Close your door and teach. You know what works. You know what doesn’t. You know who to go to when you need help. Close your door and teach.