This past week as I have reflected upon personal conversations, emails and posts I have come across I had a sad realization; everywhere there are teachers who feel that no one wants them to succeed, that no one cares what they do, that no one stops to listen to them. While I had hoped that these were merely regional perspectives and not something worldwide, I see now that teaching can be an incredibly lonely job.
Every teacher wants to be the best teacher they can be. They start out with ideas, ideals, and aspirations, truly believing that every child can learn, achieve, be something incredible. And yet, after perhaps not so gracious welcomes, or reserved hello’s, teachers learn their first lesson about teaching: don’t expect a red carpet welcome. It is not that other teachers aren’t welcoming, the profession as a whole just seems to be a bit skeptical, naturally reserved when anything new enters our midsts whether it be a new idea, change, or a new person.
And what a sad lesson that is. We are there to reach out to all students, to make them feel welcome, and we spend precious class time building community with our students and then forget the community that needs to be re-formed every time someone new enters our schools.
I discussed this with my mother, who is a college professor. She agreed with me that this is not a localized phenomenon but something that she has encountered on various levels as well. Her take was that it often can be attributed to jealousy, busyness, competitiveness or a combination of any of those. I hate to say she is right but I do think from personal experience that there is room for improvement in how we treat each other face to face. I think of how in my online PLN whenever there is a success, people cheer and ask more questions. Now I wonder whether this happens as much in real life as we would like to think it does. I certainly have days where I feel as if no one hardly cares and then there are days when I feel accepted and welcomed.
So I open it up for debate. Are teachers friendly to each other or could we improve on this? Why can teaching feel as if it is you against the world with few people cheering you on? Do we create this situation or is a just a cutthroat profession where people fend for themselves, constantly wary of the new person?