my heart is hurting. Why? I joked a couple of weeks ago about being called names. The post was pretty tame, maybe even a bit mundane. Because what happened this week was NOT tame, nor was it mundane. One of our higher-up politicians, at a rally in El Paso, made an enormous faux pas (and that's putting it lightly) in using the term "loser teachers" and frustrating millions of people around the globe. I'm sure there is some major back-pedaling going on (I'm trying to steer clear of the politics and simply focus on the name-calling) or maybe not, but if ANYone (a parent in my school when I was principal, someone in the community I overheard, or anyone for that matter) used the term "loser teachers", I am liable to bow up like a Mama Bear protecting her cubs.
Let's be honest. Not one teacher you know could have possibly gone into the teaching profession for the money. When I wasn't making even half of what Dave was making as an engineer, even after I got my master's degree, I would remind him, "You knew the financial situation you were marrying into, right?" He knew. He knew I spent nights making materials that might engage my otherwise difficult-to-engage students. He knew that, on weekends, I would beg him to come with me to take one of my students out for lunch and maybe to the bookstore to get a new book. He knew that, while people flippantly say, "But teachers have the summers off", I would be up at school, getting my room prepared for the next year and would likely be meeting with colleagues and new parents in an effort to begin building relationships. He knew...he knew...he knew... I could go on and on. He knows now that, when I get a contract to work with a school or district or university, I am going to spend countless hours preparing for the work I will be doing. Why? Because educators deserve the best professional learning opportunities they can possibly get.
And don't get me started on how many teachers spend hard earned money on the kids in their class; how many times teachers serve in roles like: nurse, social worker, counselor, banker, accountant, and so many more. And most teachers do this all without complaining.
I am not naive. Are some teachers less equipped than others to do a 150% job every day? Of course. I talk a lot about "will" versus "skill". As a school leader, I worked with new teachers or even seasoned teachers who lacked "skill" in some areas. They could be coached through these issues with training, modeling and help from outside sources. The ones who lacked the "will" didn't last very long, once they knew there was accountability involved. They either bucked up and found the will, albeit begrudgingly, or another phenomenon occurred. As a principal in North Carolina told me a couple of years ago, "I'm going to help this teacher out, or I am going to help this teacher.....OUT!" Yes, some folks in every profession need to be counseled out of their current position.
But to call ANYone a "loser teacher" is not just mean, it is hurtful to the profession and simply not character-filled. Calling names never solved a problem. Helping people in need of support helps solve problems.
Now, go ahead. Give it your best shot. Tell me how you feel. I stand for educators all over the world in saying, "Stop calling names!!"