Why It's Time to Elevate and Celebrate Teachers and Teaching
*Although this post was written in 2016, it is more important now than ever for us to celebrate the impact teachers have. Over the past year, most teachers have done everything possible to continue to engage students while the world endured a global pandemic. So it is because of that, that I felt compelled to rerun this article as a reminder of #Whyweteach...
We can all spout many things that need to change within our educational systems in order to improve them, but how often do we spend time actually talking about what's right?
All around the world, there are amazing people who dedicate their lives to the improvement of society, one child at a time; it's a global effort. And although we may not know each other, there is a camaraderie among teachers as we can share in the delights and challenges of the profession in a way that no one else can.
That being said, let's take some to really elevate our profession, by sharing the amazing things that happen in the day to day that can easily get overlooked. Especially now, in these unprecedented times.
#ECET2's national convening happened in San Diego in 2016. Between powerful teacher keynotes and lovely performances by student performers, teachers had the opportunity to be the rock stars at an event, and why shouldn't we be?
First, everyday teachers have the opportunity to touch the lives of the children and their colleagues, so instead of choosing to focus on what isn't working, smile and be proud of what is. Take the opportunity to thank someone for something specific. Give them a #ShoutOut and share the positive energy of good choices that make for a better learning and living environment.
Second, the teaching profession shouldn't be a career we consciously usher students away from, but instead, one that we encourage for the many wonderful experiences that challenge us as human beings as well as our ability to share our passions and cultivate others' passions. We should never miss an opportunity to share our stories and inspire those who are considering a career in the best profession there is.
Check out some final thoughts from an invigorating weekend that promises to be brought back with every teacher who has attended. It's time to change education and we start by treating those who do the hardest work with a great deal of respect.
Here is what some folks from the conferences are saying on Twitter on the #ECET2 hashtag:
Ben Owens @engineerteacher "Today redefined my ingredients of a great conference: drink from a firehose of knowledge, share 'til you can't talk, crying, singing. #ecet2"
Tania Chico @flowerkinz "@engineerteacher So true! #ECET2 Speakers and new friends have been life-changing, soul-enriching, invigorating, and awe-inspiring."
Molly Hayes @MsHayes222 "Teachers are the best people because their business is helping people become people. #heart #ECET2"
Brittany Ray Crowell @b_ray_crowell "So many amazing moments and ideas to reflect on. I'm already evolving. Can't wait to sort it all out and put it into action #ECET2"
Michelle Francis @DolphinTeacher1 "@gatesed thank you, thank you, thank you for this opportunity. Every teacher should get this opportunity. #ECET2"
Jo-Ann Fox @AppEducationFox "Whenever you hear something good, tell two people. #ECET2 @LS_Karl @Looksforsun"
Douglas Hodum @DougHodum "As I reflect on #ECET2 in San Diego, the power in the room is a sign of the passion in the room. Outstanding & honored to be here."
Anna Keith @MTTeacherCoach "Thank you @gatesed for helping me remember! #ECET2 'Teaching is my life's purpose and passion!" #WhyIteach
And this was just a small piece of the magic. For more tweets, recorded live-streams and pictures visit the #ECET2 hashtag on Twitter and follow @ECET2natl
After being around such inspirational teacher leaders, I was reminded of what I do every day both in and out of the classroom. I teach to improve the lives of the children I connect with and to set them on their journey into life with an amplified voice and clarified dream. Thank you to the amazing teachers I've met this weekend for sharing your stories and learning with me.
Every teacher has a #whyiteach story. We want to hear yours.
When you go back to work on Monday, take a moment to really reflect on what it is that makes you excited about coming to work each day. Linger on it and then write about it, share it, and make sure you spread the word to other teachers who need to hear it.
Educators need to be appreciated; it makes all of the challenging parts of the job easier.Â
What will you do today to celebrate and elevate those around you at school and to improve the environment in which you work? Please share!
*This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in January of 2016.