In all my years of teaching, there have been days where I have struggled getting through a class period. It is heartbreaking. Not only that, it leaves you feeling less than and like there is no hope for you. It makes you question your sanity, your profession, your livelihood. These moments are the reason why so many teachers leave the profession. At a cost of $2.2 BILLION dollars a year, teacher attrition is a serious issue that affects every school district.
Worse of all is the overwheling feeling that you can’t leave because of the KIDS! In your heart you know that it will be the KIDS that will feel it the most and who you will let down. Underneath it all, you KNOW that they need you.
You understand that they need you, so you go to bed, thinking that tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow wont be so horrible. Tomorrow you won’t feel so alone. Tomorrow you won’t feel like your administration thinks your an idiot or incompetent.
What is the undercurrent in education that causes so many issues – FEAR
Your own fear… limits you and prevents you from trying new things. Your afraid of rejection, of the unknown, and (in some cases) of the STUDENTS themselves!
Administration is afraid of what you are doing. They are afraid of you not meeting expectations and of your inability to comply. They are afraid of rogue teachers, of lawsuits, and of backlash. Admin (in some cases) won’t let you unleash your creative potential because of fear.
Students walk into the building full of fear! Fearful of the classroom because certain subjects are overwhelming and frustrating. Afraid of bullying, not fitting in, acceptance, and your normal childhood / adolescent fears.
Parents fear schools because of news reports full of allegations and school violence. They are reluctant to drop off their children and (as good responsible parents should).
Society and the media perpetuate a narravite about education as a blackhole from which we cannot recover from.
One of the FIRST steps to fix this dilemma is to speak about and identify the fear before we can replace it. Once we acknowledge the fear we can see it clearer and we can deal with it.
Once you acknowledge the fear, there are two things you can do to combat this fear, making sure your language, actions, and thoughts are aligned. This will make your efforts more impactful and productive
1) Treat the classroom like a sacred space. A holy, special, and safe space. Protect your classroom as much as you can. Insulate it from toxic thinking, language and actions. You can do this by making sure you classroom is full of communication.
2) What should you be communictating? Kindness. If you communicate kindness, you remove the fear that festers in your classroom. Kindness removes fear and can give your students a sturdy framework from which to learn from. It will give them a sense of security and safety. Kindness develops trust in you as a leader and as a caregiver. It alleviates stress. It allows your students to find the courage you need them to have to learn. Courageous students will learn, grow, and prosper.
Develop courage through kindness… and seal every lesson, every class period, every interaction… with your smile 🙂