The Big Picture

I am a classroom teacher. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a lot of things besides a teacher. Today there was a conversation about what is the most important thing in a school. Some in my PLN said the students were the most important (period). They went on to say that it doesn’t matter if the teachers are happy or not as long as the kids are getting what they need and deserve. Others took the approach that if the teacher isn’t happy in his/her job, then how can they provide an appropriate learning environment for the students. Sadly, not everyone was open to the conversation. People were blocked and the conversation devolved into something that sounded like a schoolyard argument. I am not going to provide examples of these tweets. The tweeters themselves are not as important as the messages they were sending.

Here is my opinion. I have never been in a school that provided what students needed that didn’t also take into consideration what the faculty and staff also needed. Yes, sometimes there are tough decisions to make. Each individual has to make choices each day. Do I put my students before my family? Sometimes the answer is yes. We don’t generally take vacations during the middle of the school year. We sometimes miss family reunions because it is scheduled at the beginning of a semester. Sometimes the answer is no. We realize that the death or illness of a loved one is more important than making sure all the papers are graded on time. Each decision is made by the individual and each decision is a tough decision.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that yes, of course schools wouldn’t operate without students, but they also wouldn’t operate without teachers. It is a symbiotic relationship. To say one is more important than the other is like saying hydrogen is more important than oxygen in a molecule of water. Just because we need more hydrogen, doesn’t make it more important. Just because there are more students, doesn’t make them more important either. We must realize both are equally necessary for a school to fulfill its function.

Platitudes and attitudes are not good friends. Please realize that if you send a message out into the world, people have the right to ask questions and request clarification. Not every challenge is negative. Sometimes, people are genuinely interested in understanding your thinking process. Just because there are people that disagree with you, doesn’t mean you are wrong or they are right. Sometimes, just sometimes it means you need to have a conversation for clarification. After all, isn’t that how learning takes place?

2 thoughts on “The Big Picture

  1. The part where you write, “just because there are more students doesn’t make them more important” immediately remind me of something I constantly say in my classroom that usually surprises both my students and parents the first time they hear it. I always tell them that no one person is more important than anyone else in this classroom, including me. I may be the one in charge and because I’m an adult we have different roles and interactions with each other but I’m not more important than them. BUT that also means they are not more important than me. This often gets brought up again throughout the year when behaviors in the classroom arise. And this is exactly when I model things like “I statements” with them and tell them how I feel. This shocks them. And it shocks their parents too. I think often people in general forget that teachers are real people too. But we are. And I stand up for myself and the fact that “I matter too”. I LOVE my kids and I LOVE what I do. Have I made life changing decisions because I’m a teacher and because of what that personally means to me? Yes, many times. But that’s on me and it’s not ok for others to weigh in on and make you feel guilty etc about those decisions. Like you said, they are tough decisions. And let’s be honest, most teachers I know, including myself, beat themselves up more often than not-we don’t need “help” in that department. I’m a teacher. I love what I do. I love my students. But I’m not Jesus.

    • Rosy, once again your comments show me why I value you as both a friend (even though we’ve never met) and a colleague.

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