Each Tuesday, I write alongside other teachers who write at Two Writing Teachers because they are my community. I am supported and understood and respected. This matters.
Lately I’ve been focusing a lot on how teachers can be seen more professionally. When I see decisions that have been made about education (without teacher input) by administrators and school board members and governors, I can’t help but wonder where did we go wrong as teachers? Why aren’t we perceived as the professionals who should be making these decisions or at least informing them?
I always discover new ideas about myself as I write. I began this piece by thinking about one thing and quickly realized that I need to walk my talk first. I need to be a model for professional behavior before I can ask others to be.
What do I mean by this? I look at all the teachers out there who we look to as models and I wonder–how did they get there? How did Donalyn Miller, Pernille Ripp, Cathy Mere, Lisa Eickholdt, Penny Kittle, Pat Johnson, Katie Keier, Meenoo Rami, Ruth Ayres, and so many others understand that they had a duty to share what they know and do as teachers through their writing and that what they wrote mattered professionally to so many people? When we put ourselves and our teaching out there, we tell the world that teachers are professionals who know what should be happening in the classroom.
Back on July 5, 2015 when I wrote my final blog post for my four year old blog, First in Maine, I lied about why I was doing it. I closed it because a couple of other teacher-blogger people I know told me that I was a bit of a downer. They told me that my blog wasn’t as popular because it wasn’t funny and cheerful and because I didn’t make things for teachers to use in their classrooms. I didn’t think I could ever be that person, so I closed my blog. Shame on me for not having the courage of my convictions. Shame on me for looking at how many people have since viewed this last post (over 3500!) and realizing that I was making a difference…professionally.
We don’t give teachers their profession back by making cute things or having cute rooms or pretending our jobs are funny all the time. We become professionals when we are willing to open ourselves up to being real about what happens and to problem solving and to writing about how to make a difference. A huge thank you to Katherine Sokolowski for reminding me of that today. Check out her blog post at http://readwriteandreflect.blogspot.com/2015/11/on-being-real.html