I was inspired by the theme of a recent event that I keynoted– TEACHERS RULE! (of course, those of you who know me, know that I’m always inspired by a good theme)
So, let’s take a look at some data from our educational world IF, indeed, TEACHERS DID RULE!!!
First of all, Teachers would have the opportunity to have lunch and collaborate with their colleagues every day – to discuss their programs and practice – for more than the current 20 minutes after they drop off their students and pick them up at the cafeteria!
Oh, and they would have time to go to the bathroom too!!
SECOND, they would make sure that the general public understood that they really DO work more than from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day – FIVE days a week for TEN months out of the year –
In fact, did you know, according to the National Education Association and I-N-G Foundation Survey, the AVERAGE teacher spends more than 8 hours per day on their feet, works at least 50 hours per week – and more than 400 hours of overtime per year – without getting paid for it?
(and that’s not counting the sleepless nights worrying about a particular child in their classroom that may not have had dinner or a place to sleep tonight ….)
NEXT, teachers would invite legislators and legislators would come into their classrooms to have an “up close and personal” view of exactly how great the needs of students and teachers are in an actual classroom setting –
So, they are able to SEE the real picture in their heads when they are voting on state budgets, OR bills
AND teachers would share with their legislators, by the way, that The Education Market Associationreports that, “teachers spend an average of $500 of their own money each year on classroom supplies.”
(which does not include the 65% that contributed $1 here & there for forgotten lunch money, the $5 for a field trip that you know that child really wanted to go on, or the team T-shirt for Field Day that the family could just not afford…)
AGAIN, these SAME legislators are able to SEE exactly WHAT teachers need to be armed with– pencils, books, computers – school supplies AND resources – HUMAN resources – such as those that are experienced through valuable partnerships with you, the businesses in our communities.
IF TEACHERS RULED
Our curriculum decision makers would know that we do not need another “program” to deal with “SEL” (Social Emotional Learning)
All we need is more time in our school day to do what WE KNOW as teachers, is the right thing to do, and that is to educate the TOTAL CHILD – intellectually, socially, and emotionally – like we used to do
And what exactly does that look like?
It is finding out what happened before school to cause that behavior and taking the time to model for them, the way to make good decisions and choices.
It looks like what all teachers do their best to do every day –building rapport and personal relationships with each and every child.
It is knowing what students wish and hope for and then working with every one of them to help set their goals and reach their dreams.
It is making sure each child knows they are loved, they are valued, and they matter – for who they are!
It looks like having time to design quality work opportunities for students – NOT a one size fits all approach where all students are on the same page no matter which classroom you walk into on a grade-level hallway… because we know
Every child DOES NOT learn in the same way, on the same day!
Quality Work that authentically engages every student in something that they are excited about learning –in a way that they can think critically and creatively – allowing them to have choices and make decisions on their topic and their delivery of information so they may present it to a wider audience of their peers and their community…
So, their work can be affirmed and praised – outside the classroom walls!
It DOESN’T look like teachers spending the inordinate amount of time they do – daily and weekly – pre-testing students for “THE TEST” they will take in the Spring… and practicing bubbling in circles on a page…
IT DOES look like allowing students more time working together, cooperatively as a team, debating their learning, testing their hypotheses, and preparing them for what WE KNOW our business community wants and needs –
Graduates that are ready to perform in the REAL WORLD of work!
IF TEACHERS RULED…
Major Business Corporations and their lobbyists would know that we DO NOT need to reallocate our public-school tax dollars to give students vouchers to attend private, or “for profit” charter schools,
We need corporations to INVEST in additional INNOVATION in our public schools-
IN FACT, we also need to invite those same corporations to come into our schools and classrooms so they can see the INNOVATION that is already taking place
AND we need to ask the businesses what THEY can do to mentor our students in their areas of business or industry expertise and contribute to our PUBLIC–SCHOOL system!!!
IF TEACHERS RULED…
They would want you to know that they would welcome the opportunity for time to build trusting relationships with students’ families,
To have families share what they know about their children at home and to share what they as teachers, observe about their children in school.
To work together as a unified team on behalf of each child so each child has the support of an entire “VILLAGE” – because THAT IS what it takes you know…
IF TEACHERS RULED…
They would want you to know that all that they ask for is a seat at the table
A chance to put their extensive training and educational degrees to good use in making decisions that THEY KNOW are in the BEST INTEREST OF CHILDREN
To bring back the JOY of teaching and learning!
They would want you to know that American teachers earn far less than other advanced countries across the world, yet by law, they educate every child that crosses the threshold of “school.”
They would want you to know that there has been an 11.9% decrease in teacher salaries from 2009 – 2018, and that more than 30% of teachers are working second jobs to put food on the table and pay their bills.
AND teachers would tell you the continuing offers from lawmakers to award them “bonuses” instead of salary increases do not help them
Because bonuses do not count toward their teacher retirement programs and are not guaranteed to continue from one year to the next.
Teachers would be the first to tell you they are so appreciative of the support of the Florida voters to pass a tax increase to fund teacher raises, but are so disappointed in the process of political posturing that delays this from taking place.
IF TEACHERS RULED…
I could go on and on for days, BUT I know I am preaching to the choir so, I would like to close by asking each one of you to accept a challenge… BOTH individually and collectively
PLEASE USE YOUR INFLUENCE in educating your neighbors, your colleagues and your business networks about our schools.
Use YOUR INFLUENCE in informing your legislators and educational decision- makers about the importance of public education.
Take the time to look back on the teachers YOU had when you were in school – teachers that had an impact on you and changed YOUR way of thinking – or perhaps even the course of yours or another student’s life…
I’d also like to ask all of you to REFLECT on the fact that based on the varying by number of years teaching and grade levels, the “average” teacher affects more than 3,000 students during their career. (National Center for Education Statistics)
SHARE that around 3.6 million students will graduate from U.S. high schools this year (NCES), and they’ve all had the inﬂuence of great teachers.
REMEMBER the purpose of public education – that our forefathers believed in an educated electorate
And what Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in his message for American Education Week in the year 1938,
“Public schools are the cornerstone of our democracy.”
There are so many negative stories out there daily in the news about teachers and public education. It’s high time we focused on the positive examples of teachers working so incredibly hard to make a difference in the lives of children.
Let’s ask ourselves what we can do in our community TODAY!
Our Children are the Future of our Country, our Society and our Humanity –
And YOU – THE TEACHERS – hold the future in your hands!!!
SO, let’s THANK them – RESPECT them – HONOR them – CARE about them -and TREAT them as the professionals that they are.
WE APPRECIATE YOU, the TEACHERS!