When I first started teaching, it was really hard. I struggled a LOT. Classroom management was so much harder than it ever seemed in theory. In my mind, I believed that someday, after many years, I’d be really good. If I were even a little bit good…I’d get into a good public school where I could live out my career. One of my lifetime goals is to be the teacher of one of my students’ kids. About ten years ago, I got my first job in the county where I currently work. After that year in first grade, I knew I was finally at a point in my career where I knew what I was doing and I was good at it. I applied for the brand new school in my district and I got the job. The school where I have worked for the last nine years was my dream school. My ‘stay till you retire’ school. My ‘teach one of your kids, kids’ school. In April, I tearfully went in to my principal and explained that I thought it was time for a change. Why? Why???
Because I’d become an entitlement teacher.
Easy becomes the enemy of the best.
Get in at 8:00 leave at 3:30…cause you have a LIFE.
When I started this calling, I didn’t get into it because I thought it would be easy. I got into it because I thought I’d be making a difference. When did I get to the point where I didn’t want to still fight for that? When did I lose my own voice? When did I decide to just let things be easy?
It didn’t happen in one day. It happened over time. I became entitled.
I’d been teaching long enough that I didn’t need to put up with what was irritating or difficult.
And you know what I realized? I wasn’t happier. I was mediocre.
As teachers, we need to ALWAYS be about the work. When our passion burns into embers, we either need a change to rekindle it, or we need to find something else to do. The kids deserve better.
Entitlement teaching looks like teachers who teach in schools of privilege telling everyone else what they should or should not do…as if there’s only one way to teach a child to be a life long learner. I’m not going to be about that.
Entitlement teaching looks like forgetting that there are kids in the district that are given less and want more and doing nothing to amplify their voices. I’m not going to be about that.
Entitlement teaching looks like talking about parents or poverty as if THEY or IT were the problem, when the problem is my own bias or inability to dream bigger than those around me. I’m not going to be about that.
Entitlement teaching looks like believing that kids can’t be better than their circumstances and teaching down to them because they are somehow less. I’m not going to be about that.
I’m going to be about perspiration and inspiration.
About advocacy and amplification.
I may be half way through my career, but I’m not half way done dreaming about doing amazing things with amazing kids.
It’s time for a second act.
Are you ready?
I am hosting a book talk in my Facebook group on the book Multiplication is for White People, by Lisa Delpit.
Here is the description:
“Lisa Delpit’s Other People’s Children—which has sold more than a quarter-million copies to date—is a paradigm-shifting, highly acclaimed exploration of the cultural slippage between white teachers and students of color. In her long-awaited and now bestselling second book,“Multiplication Is for White People,“ the award-winning educator reflects on the last fifteen years of reform efforts—including No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, alternative teacher certification paths, and the charter school movement—that have left a generation of poor children of color feeling that higher educational achievement is not for them.”
In light of recent events, I think that although these discussions are tough, they need to be had. Snag the book and join us! We begin on Saturday evening on Facebook.