I am relieved January is behind us. It is deep deep winter here in Vermont. Very little light. But there is a quiet beauty, even if your fingers and toes sting with the cold. Like the woods behind my house. Always quiet, beautiful, waiting for a visit. They stand guard and connect me to a world beyond impeachment, caucus meltdowns, and other human issues.
Since Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exoduswas published in 2010 I have been pondering, how would I write about that now? What would I add? I wrote a recent post for Edutopia with some new thinking about the hugely important issue of supporting teachers for a long and happy career in the field of education. It is crystal clear to me that we must work to increase the humanity we extend to teachers and students in schools, and create what Carla Shalaby calls in Troublemakers:
“Resurrect our imagination forschooling as a deeply human, wildly revolutionary site of possibility.
Here are 7 ways to make teaching a sustainable profession, and these ideas are not revolutionary.. but they are ways to build the kind of learning environments we know support the growth and emotional health of teachers and students. I would also add the importance of building supportive teacher networks and communities, online and off as essential to this work.
Another piece that is often overlooked and undervalued is the emotional labor teachers put forth each day. I wrote about that over here at the TIIE blog. This one is personal for sure. I hope that we can validate and make visible the care and effort teachers give students each day.
Lastly, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we tend to focus on what is wrong before we focus on what is right. How can we bring a strength-based lens to project-based learning work so students can learn deeply about the values of their communities? By intentionally planning it.
And the salamanders will be coming…. soon! I’m excited to head to a few schools this spring to share about the great salamander migration and Salamander Skyand how to write for change.
This weekend teachers and students are anxious. The new school year for many begins Monday. Floating in teachers’ minds: What will the class be like? Will my colleagues, new parents, and the administration be supportive? Endless to-do lists float in mid air behind your eyelids as you try to fall asleep. The work is never ending, and the school year hangs in the air like a floating question mark.
The time for sacred work is here.
It matters. You matter.
We lift each other up.
Walk on, tribe.
Go, live love.
The world needs you.
We at the Tarrant Institute for Innovation Education see the incredible work you do, and we want to celebrate it. We’ve launched a campaign called #everydaycourage to showcase the ways you and your colleagues show up for students, each other, and our communities. We hope that you will share your photos, tweets, comments and ideas about your colleagues showing everyday courage (use the hashtag #everydaycourage so we can see them!). Here are a few moments of #everydaycourage I have been inspired by in recent days.
Many teachers have wondered how exactly they would respond to the results of the presidential election. They have wondered how they can both support students feeling vulnerable and unsure, while not appearing partisan in their roles as educators. Teachers hold together the fabric of our society through their interactions during challenging times. Here are some of the ways that teachers around the U.S. are helping students through a changing political and social landscape.
Promoting Kindness: The election has been hard on all of us. Students pick up on this and feel when their teachers are stressed and upset. Many students will be confused, tired, and unclear about what the election results mean for their lives. Teachers can meet this by circling back to a focus on kindness, compassion and acceptance for all students in their classrooms and school communities. Here are some resources:
Choose Kind. This is an online movement based on the book Wonder by RJ Palicio. There are many resources here for inspiring students to show and share kindness.
For younger students who might being feeling vulnerable, #kidltsafetypins on Twitter is featuring kids’ favorite picture books with safety pins to show that illustrators and authors of children’s literature stand for protecting all kids from discrimination and harm. I love this one from Peter Reynolds.
Turning Apathy into Action: Educator Jason Findley encourages educators to focus on what they can control and encourage students to do the same. He says (via Twitter): Continue reading →