It’s Okay to Care About Teachers
Whether you are in the field of education or not, a lot of what you heard about schools probably revolves around students and what is best for students. While this is a very important, central idea of education, it can lead to the idea that we must ONLY think about what is best for students. This can lead to decisions that lead to unsustainable conditions for teachers.
A teacher may finish work at home until 10 pm because it is best for students to receive immediate feedback and they want to get the papers graded before the next day. Or teachers might be asked to get on board with a new initiative even though they are already working at their capacity. They may be asked to put in extra hours, to spend their own money on students, or complete extra duties. This list could go on and on, but the point is that teachers are often expected to go above and beyond in the name of it being good for students. It has become expected. But it does not have to be this way.
It is okay to care about teachers! In fact, teachers matter more to student achievement than any other aspect of schooling, so, caring about teachers IS in the best interest of students. This is not a zero-sum game where a win for one means a loss for the other. Rather, we can take care of both at once when we don’t erase one or the other from conversations about education. When teachers are treated with respect and valued, when they feel connected to others who understand what their days look like, when they have the resources and the support they need to be the expert, BOTH teachers and students benefit.
How do we show teachers we care?
1. Include them in conversations about what is best for students. If it is not already part of the conversation, ask questions like, how does this impact teachers? Is this sustainable for teachers?
2. Take their concerns seriously. Communicating their needs is not complaining, it is them advocating for a more sustainable workload so they can show up with their best self for students every day.
3. Make sure they have the support they need. If you are an administrator or someone with influence on selecting resources for teachers, make sure they get the resources and support they need. Learn more about how axis3 can support teachers at creativelyfocused.net.
4. Thank a teacher for the impact they have had on you or on someone you know. Teacher appreciation week for 2023 is May 8th through May 12th, but if you miss the appreciation week, don’t worry. We can appreciate teachers all year long!
Let’s make teachers feel valued. Let’s make teachers feel connected. Let’s make teachers feel like experts. Let’s make the world a better place for teachers so they can make the world a better place by educating our future leaders and problem solvers.
Written by Kalin Schoephoerster, Instructional Designer & Licensed Special Education Teacher