“If at first you don’t succeed, maybe you weren’t cut out for sky diving”
I think about this every time that I read a story that looks like this.
It’s not the “epic rant” that does it. It’s the fact that we’re hearing yet another story of someone leaving the profession.
It’s not a new phenomenon; it’s just that social media allows for a bigger and more widespread voice and traditional media seems delighted to carry the story and report on the content.
While this story originated in the United Kingdom, the teacher involved was from the United States. It might just as easily happen in your school. I know that, personally, I witnessed some colleagues that left the profession and I was also on doubting end of my own career choice at times. We’ve all have the “good class” and then the varying levels of other classes.
Finger pointing goes at students, parents, the system, administration, … actually, everyone but the teacher involved.
It made me reflect on my own situation. At the Faculty of Education, we were told about the importance of communication with parents. Ditto from my Department Head in the days leading up to my first parent/teacher night.
But the thing is that other than this trivial overview advice, I had no idea what to expect with my first encounters with parents. Until that point, the only communication that I had had was the occasional telephone call home.
A message that I heard from Wayne Hulley still resonates. “These are the only kids that the parents have. They don’t keep the good ones at home.” I wonder if we could substitute “parents” for “kids”!
Turn to today and we hear all the horror stories. We also live in a day of technology that I was never prepared for. Classes and teachers share their stories with blogs. Teachers can be reached via email and directly in the classroom with class phones and certainly Skype or Skype-like tools. If anyone doesn’t like anything, social media outlets provide a platform for sharing that displeasure.
Later as a Program Consultant, we ran a series of workshops for new teacher induction but the content was based upon a world that didn’t exist in today’s reality. Even today, districts are buying and implementing tools for the home/school connection. But, with the implementation of any tool, there is the need for ongoing and continuous support and professional discussion about how best to use it that goes far beyond the district posting a badge saying that “we’re a ###### using board”.
Thankfully, we’re dealing more frequently with Mental Health issues and we’re not afraid to discuss these moments or to be a set of ears for others.
But, is this enough?
How do you cope? How do you help colleagues cope?