It’s Not Just About the Kids

Listen.

It’s not just about the kids.

We don’t get to choose the teachers we work with either.

We don’t get to pick the ones who meet our ideal.

We are called to serve the educators who walk through our door each day, so they may serve their students well.

Want to help them?

Watch them. Listen to them. Think about them. Create for them. Let them create for you and for others.

We need to respect them, and quit comparing them to the mythological teachers in our heads. You know….the ones who don’t challenge us or disrespect us or make us feel like complete failures sometimes (or even most of the time).

They aren’t going to be like her or him or her or her or him. They aren’t all going to be like the teachers I get to learn from here. That’s okay…in fact, that’s the point.

They are their own, and we deserve to get to know them so we can support them.

Now that I’ve spent nearly a decade listening to way too many people tell me that MOST teachers won’t change–that in fact, MOST of them have NEVER changed in twenty years, (Never! Do you seriously believe this?) I just have to ask…what background knowledge might we be missing about the teachers we support? And what are we doing to fill that void?

Everyone knows more than we think they do, and they’ve evolved more than we ever credit them for. Maybe not in the way we think they need to, but in ways that they truly believe in. In ways they’ve fought for. In ways that matter.

We need to study them.

We need to pay attention.

They can teach us the things we might be missing. We need that background knowledge if we’re going to help people move forward.

And when they know we’re really listening without quietly judging? They may reciprocate.

What makes more sense: fixing my eyes and my spirit on what I assume is lacking or noticing what is present, what is whole, and where energy exists?

It’s not just kids that lack background knowledge, and it’s not just teachers either.

It’s all of us.

We don’t have the answers.

We can only help others uncover their own.

And I’m finding that this is harder, quieter, and much slower work than I ever bargained for.

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2 Comments

  1. Nina Davis says:

    Hi Angela,
    Great post, and thanks for linking my blog. Teachers need non-judgemental support, or they’ll close their doors. That’s why I like Instructional Rounds as a whole school improvement model.
    Cheers Nina

  2. Angela says:

    That’s one of the things that intrigues me about it as well. Last week’s post inspired quite a few visits from people who get frustrated when teachers disrespect kids, and I just wondered how often we’re as reflective about the way we try to lead change with teachers. I know we’re talking apples and oranges perhaps. Teachers are paid to serve. Teachers are hired to do high quality work. Teachers who resist needed change or who point fingers rather than accepting ownership of how they might make a difference probably aren’t the best people to be manning the ship, perhaps. I know that our approaches with kids and teachers must be different. Maybe not so much, though?

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