Friday, March 27, 2015

Year 5: Week 28 – Teaching Well Is the Best Revenge

There is always going to be that teacher, wherever you teach, that you don’t think is doing their job as well as they should. This is partially an objective truth but this perception also is mixed up in this insecurities of teachers that are products of many sub-par teaching situations and the lack of respect many non-teachers direct towards educators.

You can’t treat teaching like being on an island. There’s curriculum to align, department teachers to deal with, school events and countless interactions in which the choices other teachers make affect your classroom and your students. Within these interactions sometimes we can’t help feel levels of superiority.

This isn’t all bad. Seeing another teacher do a mediocre lesson sometimes helps us understand what we are doing right and capitalize on these teaching techniques. Also, if a teacher is less experienced and is looking for mentorship, having another teacher around who recognizes their flaws and is willing to help them is essential for the success of young teachers.

Other times, this feeling of superiority is less supportive, and feels more like annoyance. This is the emotion that comes out when you see another teacher slacking off, being lazy, or being inconsiderate. When you work so hard and you see other people who aren’t, it’s a really tough pill to swallow. Especially since many times, it seems that these people face no negative consequences due to their mediocrity.

What do you do with these emotions?

Well, that’s a tough question. These feelings are not easy to get over because it’s hard to not take personally how the lack of effort other people put into teaching effects your career choice. It feels like an affront to this job of teaching, validating the people who think that teaching is an easy job and deserves the lack of prestige this profession has in our society.

I go back to this idea that “living well is the best revenge” and teaching well is really the best way to get back at the people who don’t. There’s a feeling you get when you’ve worked as hard as you could for your students, while working as a community member of your school that is satisfying beyond description. You cannot let your bitterness at other teachers keep you from that feeling.

Even if that mediocre teacher never gets fired, he or she is not going home after school with that good feeling and in this way, the people they are hurting the most are themselves. They don’t get to say I worked hard to be part of my community and worked well with my kids. And even if they do feel this way because of illusions and a lack of intelligence, then so what? It’s their sad life.

Embrace your insecurities, acknowledge feelings of superiority and inferiority, allow yourself to be annoyed and mad, but also let go of these feelings through focusing on your own good work.  Instead of letting other teachers drag you down, be the example, be the light and let them rise to you.

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