Last week I had the privilege of joining over 5000 of my Independent School colleagues at the FISA Conference in downtown Vancouver. I found it to be an uplifting two days, but there was also an underlying call to action to all of the teachers in attendance. (I will get to that later)
On my way home I was on the Skytrain and couldn't help but overhear three younger teachers talking about how they enjoyed the conference, but that they all still had a sense of being overwhelmed with all of the things that teaching entails and feelings of guilt that they just can't do enough to feel like they are being successful both as teachers and as people. What I really wanted to do at that point was to interrupt them and add my two cents to their conversation. I don't profess to be any sort of expert, but I have worked at four schools and have learned from many excellent teachers and principals over the seventeen years that I have been a teacher. I think I have picked up a few tidbits over the years that might be common sense, but that I think some people might need to hear.
So, in place of interrupting random strangers on the Skytrain, I thought I would offer my advice here. First, an affirmation:
- Teachers, you are doing good things for kids. I have been in a lot of different teacher's classrooms and what I can say is that, without exception, the teachers I know are influencing kids in a positive way. What that means is that you can let go of the guilt that comes with not being able to get to everything on your to-do list. As teachers, we could work twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and would still find things to do. It is okay to let some things go. You are doing good for kids.
With that said, my one big takeaway from the FISA Conference was this: The world is changing. We are preparing our kids for a world that is changing rapidly and we have a moral imperative to change. I think many teachers find this overwhelming, so I would like to offer just a little bit of advice that I hope someone might find helpful....