This week, my staff will be returning to prepare for the coming school year. I have been back for a couple of weeks now - gearing up for staff and students to return. Every year, I am excited for the new school year to begin - I just imagine the possibilities for great things to occur, and look forward to seeing many of them come to fruition as the year unfolds.
I have enjoyed hearing stories of summer exploits from my staff as they have dropped in - from weddings to new babies; camping trips to college trips. I was disturbed, however, by a report from one staff member.
As she was getting her "back to school" haircut her hairdresser asked if she was ready for school to begin. She shared her excitement for the new year, and talked about going in to work that day to get her office set up. The hairdresser then said "You are the only teacher I have talked to lately that is happy to be going to work." What a sad statement.
This is a difficult year for teachers - all around the country - in Idaho, each district had to decide what to "cut" - salaries, days, programs, etc. I understand that teachers are frustrated - and feel beat up by politicians and policy makers. BUT we need to remember what we are here for: OUR STUDENTS.
I remind my staff that we are our own PR department. Our responses about our school is what parents and community listen to - it forms their opinion of us. If we aren't excited to get to school and make learning happen, why should they send us their kids? If we don't keep our passion, how will we be able to instill it in our students?
We need to remember that our students are not to be punished for decisions made by politicians who don't know them. Our students count on us to be on our best game. Saying things like "I am not going to put in one minute over contract time because...." doesn't hurt the politicians, it hurts the students and gives fodder to the politicians to say we are "lazy". I do NOT know a lazy educator.
I know that times are tough - and they may get tougher. Don't be your own worst enemy - don't take those frustrations out on our students. BE EXCITED to start the year - I know I am.
I plan to make this the best year ever!