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Dreading Going Back To Work? I Feel Bad For Your Students.

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Many of us head back to work tomorrow after a well-deserved break. All of us need time to relax in whatever way relaxing suits one best. Based on catching up with so many over break, the adult coloring books were apparently quite the hit and a major source of relaxation. I was speaking to a teacher I use to work with and she sounded like she was in the doldrums. Why? She was miserable to go back to work; not so sad to see her students, but to see her coworkers. My heart sank.

Nothing is worse than hearing those in education genuinely dread going back to work. This is a job that requires your A-Game everyday and requires you be your best. If you’re not, you’re hurting our future. This isn’t a cubicle — this is a job that effects the way we will live. I had to ask her why she was so dreadful. Simple. She’s ostracized for enjoying her job and working with her bosses, not being miserable at work and hating leaders. The culture of “past practice” has always been ‘us vs. them’ – no matter who the bosses are. That’s like a whole new level of sad! If you hate me for doing what I do, OK. If you hate the guy before me, and the girl before me, and so on…perhaps the problem lies with your attitude and not the person charged with leading? A few years back, I had to have a conversation with a first year employee (who was transitioning from the medical field to school life — don’t judge me — nobody else wanted the job and she was the only one willing to accept he salary) about a myriad of issues, one of them being so negative. We went over all of the things I did to help her transition (including credit options, certification issues, and professional development) and she rolled her eyes and

The culture of “past practice” has always been ‘us vs. them’ – no matter who the bosses are. That’s like a whole new level of sad! If you hate me for doing what I do, OK. If you hate the guy before me, and the girl before me, and so on…perhaps the problem lies with your attitude and not the person charged with leading? A few years back, I had to have a conversation with a first year employee (who was transitioning from the medical field to school life — don’t judge me — nobody else wanted the job and she was the only one willing to accept he salary) about a myriad of issues, one of them being so negative. We went over all of the things I did to help her transition (including credit options, certification issues, and professional development) and she rolled her eyes and said “Everyone is suppose to hate to the boss!” Really? Yes, we have tons of movies and shows about how the boss sucks and how one can overcome it (ranging from Major League to Office Space to Horrible Bosses), but it does not mean we have to have a culture like this! I have been fortunate enough to say that in six school districts, I’ve only seen one place where there is a strong culture of hatred, bitterness, and general anger towards education, the changes it brings, and yes, superb hatred for the boss. For your first day back in 2016, please don’t embrace the culture of being miserable and hating your job. It’s a new year; you may have a new boss now or soon; your issues may go away. Embracing a mantra of “us vs. them” does nobody good. Not only does it rub off on other people, and it will certainly rub off on your students. You may hate your boss, and you may hate your job, but there’s a simple solution to both of these: just leave. Your students will thank you in the long run. Your students deserve the best in 2016; give it to them.

I have been fortunate enough to say that in six school districts, I’ve only seen one place where there is a strong culture of hatred, bitterness, and general anger towards education, the changes it brings, and yes, superb hatred for the boss. For your first day back in 2016, please don’t embrace the culture of being miserable and hating your job. It’s a new year; you may have a new boss now or soon; your issues may go away. Embracing a mantra of “us vs. them” does nobody good. Not only does it rub off on other people, and it will certainly rub off on your students. You may hate your boss, and you may hate your job, but there’s a simple solution to both of these: just leave. Your students will thank you in the long run. Your students deserve the best in 2016; give it to them.

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Jay Eitner is a proud product of the New Jersey public schools. A graduate from Union High School in 1997, Jay attended The American University in Washington DC with a BA in interdisciplinary studies. He began his teaching career in Roselle, NJ teaching a variety of subjects including social studies, computers, and digital literacy. Known for being ‘outside of the box’ and for strong technology infusion, Eitner strived to make a learning environment that was student centered, data driven, and technology infused. Jay received his Masters Degree from Kean University in 2004 and was hired to teach 8th grade social studies in the nationally recognized East Brunswick Public Schools. During his time in East Brunswick, Eitner has written & received over $140,000 in grants for his students. Grants ranged from podcasting equipment to creating a fully-interactive gold-rush experience, where students dug for gold during their westward expansion unit. Jay obtained his supervisor, principal, and school administrator certificates from the NJPSA NJ-EXCEL program in 2009. Administratively, Eitner has served as a middle school Assistant Principal in the Washington Township Schools , a K-12 Supervisor of Social Studies in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, and a Superintendent of the Lower Alloways Creek School District. Jay currently serves as a Superintendent of Schools for the Waterford Township School District. He has presented a series of workshops on digital leadership, technology infusion, and student achievement. Recent awards include the 2015 national Educators Voice Award in the category of Superintendent, the White House MakerSpace distinction, and named to the national Academy of Arts & Sciences as a 2016 Educator To Watch.

Jay currently resides in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and is a proud Dad of twin girls and his puppy Lola.

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Guest Monday, 05 December 2016