"My point is a simple one: People working beyond the classroom like to believe that if teachers would just buck up—work a little harder, think a little longer, give a bit more—our schools would be sunshine and daffodils."
I sympathize with Bill. And as much as Bill refers to those "people working beyond the classroom", his sentiments are not totally confined to the classroom. As a Principal, I too feel Bill's frustrations. There is never enough money. Never enough time. Never enough resources. Initiatives that seem impossible to implement. Directives that are confusing. Unhappy stakeholders. Accountability metrics that fail to tell the whole story. Conflicting opinions on collective agreements. The list goes on and on. And that's just on a Monday. Bill is right, it can be hard to be positive.
Yet despite all these things that I could choose to really get me down, I just can't let them. Every day, I get to work with incredible people. Our teachers are awesome--skilled, dedicated and caring people who are just fun to be around. Our support staff makes all of us and our school look great each day, from a happy hello on the phone to or parents, to a sparkling hallway and glowing trophy case, to an encouraging word to a student who is struggling. Our parents are incredibly supportive, and when they might have an issue, they come in wanting to solve the problem together.
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And that was just in the last two weeks.
So call me Polyanna. Paint my glasses the color of roses. Toss my pie in the sky. But I CHOOSE to be in education. I choose the job that I have, with all of the issues around money, resources, time, bureaucracy. I knew it going in, I know it now, and I believe that those issues will never go away. But I STILL choose to be in education, and I look forward to coming to work every day. And the day that I feel that it is too much, that I can't deal with all of those issues, I need to do something else. I need to walk away.
So while I hear what Bill is saying, oddly, I do find it pretty easy to be positive. And while all of us have our issues, I hope that you will be able to find those rays of sunshine in your education situation that keep you looking at your glass as half full.