So, When Is It Time To Leave?

It’s that time of year when many teachers begin to ponder their school year. Transfer applications and guidelines are sent out to entire districts, or the teacher may wonder is it time to leave where they are at for various reasons (sometimes having nothing to do with the school or students) home school parents think “survive another year of this?”

I am grateful to be at a campus this school year where I could literally spend the next 10 years…but that is not everyone’s story. In the past, it wasn’t always mine either. Never will I advocate for you to hop from school to school year after year. That’s unstable. I treasure stability and you should too–especially for the kids. However, sometimes our experience is unbearable or does not go the way we thought. Here are a few tips to decide whether or not you need to leave your campus/assignment as a new teacher or veteran educator.

  1. The school is closing.

Yes. This actually happened to a loved one of mine. There are many educational platforms now. No longer is it just the school district and other brick and mortar establishments. Online education is literally changing the way we see education and how we impact our youth. My relative is a high school physics and chemistry (say whooooooaaa) teacher who is very good. When the staff received the notice that due to low enrollment for the next school year they were closing shop, she applied to many schools and even interviewed. Low and behold (and thankfully) the school contacted her and other staff members mid-summer to let her know they had an influx of students register and/or return. Whew, close call.

2. You have been there a very long time.

I have known teachers to stay at a campus for 20 years or more. If you are respected and love the community and adore the kids you work with, by all means enjoy until retirement or for years to come. I personally was in a situation where I was at the same school for 7 years. By today’s standards, that was a very long time. I did not leave hating anyone but the entire dynamic of the school had changed, and in a way, I felt trapped and extremely uncomfortable.

There had been some very negative things happen of which I had no part, but sensing and observing the negative atmosphere at staff meetings, seeing teachers crying, stressed and baffled–it was weighing many staff members down. One teacher even stood up and had an outburst during a meeting to the shock of everyone present. It had turned into a cliquish, fearful, and an oppressed atmosphere of which I did not want to be a part. That, coupled with being there 7 years, was a huge red flag that it was time to go. Had it remained the same inspiring campus when I began, I would have stayed for a number of more years.

For the first time, I got on the transfer list to the surprise of the principal and went to secondary to gain great experience. I wish no harm on anyone there and I have fond memories of my first 6 years there, especially my beautiful students…but when it came to year 7, I didn’t look back.

3. The principal/administration is not supportive.

Here me out. I am pro teacher all the way but I am also somewhat understanding of administrators. I have been on administrative teams outside of the classroom. Administrators make tough calls not weekly but daily. I have seen admin make tough decisions that may not make the teachers happy at the time, but it is detrimental for the students. Decent administrators want to see the students succeed and grow. Great administrators want to see their teachers and students succeed and grow. They are not just worried about their “favorites.”

If you ever have a principal or admin team berate you, verbally or physically abuse you in anyway, file a report with your union and seek their guidance. Why do I say this? It happens more than you know. Ouch. There are many, many good administrators–and there are many who have little teaching experience, a management certification, and a power trip. Don’t let that make you paranoid and critical, just be kindly aware.

Teachers can be non-renewed and unfortunately, some of them need to be. Teaching is a calling and a gift, not a transitional salary position until you get a “better salaried job.” You are responsible for those young lives. Sometimes the principal may support you but you struggled terribly the entire year. It doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means teaching may not be for you. Accept that, find a new beginning and career, and respectfully move on.

4. You keep getting passed over for a promotion or leadership roles.

If you are a new teacher, have some patience. I consider a new teacher someone who has taught 3 or less years. If you have been a teacher at a campus for a number of years, have a positive record with your kids and professionalism, and are constantly passed over for promotions or leadership roles on that campus, there is nothing wrong with looking at new options.

Do not be bitter and tell half the staff what went wrong. That is messy and unprofessional. Always evaluate yourself and see what you can do to grow. Maybe you were not a good fit for the job. If you feel the pass over was legitimate, quietly start looking for other positions–there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Continue serving your students and though you may be upset, be as professional and respectful as possible, then when the end of the year comes, plan on moving on.

Sometimes your administrator will tell you exactly why you weren’t chosen. Sometimes they are vague or may not say anything at all. Ultimately, it is their decision. Ultimately, you have the right to move on when your contract is fulfilled.

Regardless, keep it respectful.

This a tough topic to write about. Again, I always advocate stability. No campus or education situation is perfect or easy. That doesn’t mean you should jump on the transfer list. However, there are situations, as with any job, that you may need to seek what’s best for you, your health, and your professional future. There is nothing wrong with that.

Teach in the light–

Kia

Copyright 2019 The Educator’s Light

Happy World Teacher’s Day!

Did you know today is World Teacher’s Day? Well if not, Happy World Teacher’s Day to you!

Teaching is an interesting profession in and of itself. The heart of what we do is students. It is that simple. Any successful teacher who is respected keep their students the center focus of what they do daily–not money (ha ha), not prestige, not ambition, not overtime pay, not state scores (don’t let it distract you if you can). This focus is not just limited to the U.S. There are outstanding educators, students, and education systems across the globe.

No air conditioning, no heating, little food, lack of water, lack of adequate teaching materials, severe lack of pay and compensation/benefits, short supply of desks/chairs for students, lack of adequate uniforms and appropriate clothing for students, inundation of testing, lack of support even in the education system, and increasing societal woes, violence, and aggression  are just a few things that plague the mind of so many teachers in the U.S. and abroad.

       

Money tends to go places it shouldn’t. I tend to hear quite a bit of lip service these days about how much education is valued. I believe you fund what you value. It is really is that simple. There’s no debate, dialogue or rhetoric that can prove otherwise.

If you value golf, what do you fund? Golf equipment, club membership, uniforms and golf-related entertainment.  You value music  (I love music too)? What do you put your money towards? Concerts, downloads/streaming services, old records, lessons, etc. Save the lip service for karaoke night.

Spend the money on the kids, teachers, and resources to help them. The doctor YOU or your loved ones may need to see 20 years from now could be one of your students. Love your neighbor today, reap the benefits down the road.

Happy World Teacher’s Day. You are powerful, valued, and loved. Thank you for your courage to continue teaching these kids everyday in spite of it all…all across the world.

 

Stay in the light,

Kia

©2018

 

What are some courageous things you have done or stories you know of that have proven how awesome teachers are?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ONE Secret To Being The Perfect Teacher

It is here. After years of research, trainings and workshops, talking to numerous educators and administrators, graduate school, videos, movies, and speaking with countless students, I have found the one secret. I cannot believe I discovered this amazing secret…and I am sharing it…in 2018. Here it is, so lean into the screen closely and read:

There is NO such thing as the perfect teacher. The perfect teacher doesn’t exist. Being a teacher is like writing a college essay. The first draft you don’t do too well, but you survived. You get help and tips from the writing center online or on campus. You get a few edits, and you learn extra tips you can use along the way. By the time you write the final draft, you gave your all, still a few errors, but you are on your way to becoming a more established writer…until the next paper. Welcome to teaching.

The good news is you do not have to be perfect. Instead:

Strive for Excellence. Excellence is not being perfect, it’s striving for the best for your kids and what you do. It is doing your best to be a positive example for your students and to walk in ethical character. When you walk in that school, or any educational entity you may be a part of, your students should be your main focus, their safety and what is best for them. That is excellence.

You will mess up lessons, you will fall out your chair in front of a large class of 7th graders (true story), you will feel out of place at times, you will feel overwhelmed (for example being trained to physically defend your students from literal attacks in addition to mastering curriculum), you will be disappointed in your kids, you will even sometimes feel like you’re a joke and you’re playing teacher–whether you are new or experienced.

The secret is out. No perfect teacher exists. I dare you to strive for excellence anyway. Keep the kids’ best interests in front of you. Learn as you teach, and teach as you learn and for goodness sake, take it a day at a time.

What are simple tips you may have for striving for excellence and not perfection?

Stay in the light–

The Educator, M.Ed.

©2018

 

Create A Beautiful New Care Packet…For You.

Create a Care Pack

You may be thinking, “Awesome, create a Care Pack for my students. I like that.” No darling, this pack is for you.

Why? Because you’re worth it and you need it. Unbeknown to the general public and even others in education, teachers have lives…outside of school. Gasp! Seriously, we do. You will find that some teachers will keep snacks in their cabinet for themselves and a sweater or jacket if it gets cold.
Nothing more.

A care pack is necessary because life happens. A number of years ago, a coworker had a power outage at her home. This normally well put together lady came to school with wet, disheveled hair. She was in the staff bathroom before school frantically getting ready. I never forgot that. A care pack is a teacher emergency bag. You can go to your nearest dollar or discount store to get what you personally need. Teaching is intense enough. The last the thing you need to forget is your deodorant and then reach over students all day passing out papers etc. They deserve better (insert laugh here). You deserve to know you are covered (no pun intended). Here is an emergency list:

–toothpaste
–travel toothbrush
–lotion
–hand sanitizer
–baby wipes or stain wipes
–female products (if applicable)
–small perfume or cologne
–deodorant
–protein or snack bars
–2 mini waters
–other materials you may need.

**This is for emergencies only. If you have to get ready at work frequently except for emergencies, time is not being prioritized unless there is a personal situation.

Make sure you keep your bag locked in your cabinet away from students at all times.

Take care of yourself the entire year. A broken, stressed teacher can’t help anyone. This beautiful or studly bag is for YOU.

Stay in the light–
The Educator, M.Ed.

©2018