I was fortunate to recently be hired on a part time basis by MASSP (Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals) to facilitate the implementation of the 5D+ teacher evaluation model. There are so many parts about the work that I’ve loved over the past month.
At the top of the list of things I’ve enjoyed is being able to teach again. While I’ve always worked to stay a teacher at heart, the more opportunities and experiences to lead groups of educators, allows me to stay close to those roots. Teaching a system that I truly believe in to rooms full of teachers, principals, and district office administrators, has been so rewarding. To be able to listen to educators talk about teaching and learning and it’s impact on students, has been refreshing. Our educators are more prepared than ever before to strategically support the needs of the students who walk through their doors each day. They come with toolboxes full of instructional strategies and and understanding of the social-emotional needs of each student.
However, there was been one trend that stood out in many rooms all over the state…and it’s not a good one. A theme that continues to come up is that educators feel more stretched than ever before. Within their school district, building, and individually, people have been asked to take on numerous roles. In some instances, it is an administrative team that has been cut in half, despite serving a similar number of students. Other times, it’s the curriculum director, who is also now the technology director, and just recently has added the role of assessment coordinator. Despite the demanding and high profile role of student services director, in many districts, that person is now being asked to be a building principal as well. Teachers are not exempt from multiple roles either. They are now supervising recess, being a PLC leader as well as a union rep, and leading curriculum development in districts where that role no longer exists.
That has led to educators doing more with less than ever before.
I realize that I haven’t found the cure to cancer here. This is a dilemma that many are aware of and there is no simple fix. But sometimes awareness of an issue is important to lay on the table because it could help start or continue the discussion. Educator burn-out is real and we simply can’t allow our finest to be overwhelmed by what their job has turned into. To my fellow educators, I get it. I know how hard it can be and I see all the extras you are putting in for your students. Don’t stop. Those students, parents, and/or teachers need you more than ever. You have been called to this profession and are exactly where you need to be. I encourage you to find others within your school, your district, and your inner circle, to be your support during the most challenging times. Get to the point of self-awareness so you know when to lean on colleagues, share with a spouse, or take needed time away from the daily grind.Because regardless of all those challenges, budget cuts, restructuring, and piling on of responsibilities, nothing beats the impact an educator can have on the life of a child. Which is why, despite the work seemingly more challenging than ever before, this continues to be the greatest profession in the world.