Be the change, being a teacher, reflection

What Becomes of the Lonely Teachers?

image from icanread

“…Don’t worry about it, I will take care of it.”

So read the text message from my teammate Mark when he found out I was in the hospital trying to stop the birth of Augustine (in vain, I might add).  And with that little message, I could stop worrying about the 27 kids that rely on me Monday through Friday and start worrying about the baby trying to meet us way too early.

Mark didn’t have to write my sub plans, in fact, he didn’t have to do anything for me, he has his own classroom full of kids to work with, his own plans to write, his own family to take care of.  But he did, and he didn’t make a big fuss about it, it was simply what he does, and what we do as a team.

I often wonder about the teachers that shut their door, tired of trying to make connections, tired of trying to make their team work.  Did they ever have a team that took care of them?  Does anyone notice when their door is shut?  I know when I have shut mine, whether by choice or accident, someone has always knocked on it, concerned and just checking it.

Yet,we know there are teachers that come to school, teach, and then leave without many people knowing that they were even there, without many people reaching out to them to make sure they are having a good day.  We are so concerned with our lonely students, but do we share the same concern for our lonely teachers?  Do we reach out and go out of our way to make sure everyone feels included and welcomed?  Do we stop by and invite them to have lunch with us if they are sitting in their rooms?  Of for coffee after school?  Do we tell them that we will take care of them if they need it?

I know I forget to, I know I get too busy trying to catch up with the ones I already have established routines with.  I know I forget to include, to ask, to invite, but I try.  And it is in this trying that I find my own hope, that perhaps if I try and everyone else tries, that perhaps those teachers we let slip through the cracks will be caught by someone and for once they wont be the ones shutting their door, for once they wont be the ones that no one noticed that day.  For once they will belong.  But we have to notice first, so on Monday, please take the time to notice who is by themselves.  Notice who shuts their door, notice who seems alone.  Then stop, say hi, start a conversation, try.  No one should have to be alone in a building filled with happy children.  Everyone should have a Mark in their lives.

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” will be released this March from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.


9 thoughts on “What Becomes of the Lonely Teachers?”

  1. Pernille – Fantastic post! It’s not something I thought about when I was teaching full time, but now that I am working as a sub – it can be tough starting that conversation (and I’m an outgoing midwesterner!). Reaching out and making connections with fellow teachers benefits the entire faculty and makes it easier to do the job we love.

  2. Pernille,

    Yes. Yes, I do believe we were on the same page with our most recent posts. You really brought up some wonderful points. As I was reading I was thinking of my teachers and staff. I was thinking who shuts the door, who goes it alone. This forced deeper reflection, how can I help? I hear you Pernille…we must try. In the big scheme of things we are all people, we need connections.

    Thanks for sharing Pernille, I’m confident that the teamwork and partnership you have with Mark didn’t happen over night, it started small and grew to what you now have. We all must start somewhere and try.

  3. I left one teaching position for another because I was tired of being isolated and alone. Now I am happy knowing that I am part of a team that has each other’s backs.

  4. Shout out to Mr. Euper at Bolsa Grande High School, who checks up on me on a regular basis to make sure that I am keeping my sanity as together as my lesson plans during my year long sprint in student teaching. Yes, teachers do get lonely, and it’s not that I choose to have it be that way, but I want to make sure my students get priority, especially through my student teaching.

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