Sunday, March 20, 2016

Teachers Are The Real MVPs!



Because Teachers are the MVPs!

This morning I was scrolling along my Twitter feed when I saw a tweet from a teacher on our staff:

Forget losing teachers to other states, why are we losing teachers to other professions? #wedontvalueteachers #evenpennieshavevalue

It sparked a flurry of tweets from me because when we get right down to it, whether we are talking about improving achievement, improving our schools period, and helping students reach their maximum potential...
TEACHERS ARE THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS! 

When the rubber meets the road, nothing good happens in a school  without a relentless dedication and commitment of teachers. No initiative succeeds unless teachers make it so. You name it-PLCs, Responsive Classrooms, Whole Brain Teaching, Collaboration, Common Assessments, RTI, and anything else you are trying to implement in a school and the defining factor in fidelity of implementation and quality of implementation is the TEACHER.

It's high time we value teachers in every way. In NC, where I currently serve as a coprincipal of a middle school, teacher pay ranks 42nd and per pupil spending ranks 46th. As coprincipal, I can organize meetings, complete evaluating and observations, conference with parents, and so much more but the reality of it is this TEACHERS make it happen. My coprincipal and I can work collaboratively with staff to develop a collective vision for the school but TEACHERS are the ones who carry it out day in and day out. The daily grind of the hard work belongs to TEACHERS. 

TEACHERS deserve more. None of us chose the profession because of the money, but none of the teachers I know agreed to take a vow of poverty. The service orientation of our work does not mean teachers are ok with being poorly compensated. Many of the teachers in our school have second, even third jobs. I am constantly torn when I ask them to do more when I know they are working every hour of every day, except when they are sleeping. How can we give our students the best in every way when we treat those who serve them as if their work is a sort of sacrifice in which one diligently exerts effort, time, and talent all while struggling to make ends meet? Get married and have children and the struggle intensifies. That's why I cringe when I hear others say: "I don't know how y'all do it! My hats off to you!" Because I want to say, it's very apparent that many don't know how we do it, don't have a clue what we are dealing with daily, and are pretty much comical when they talk about what needs to be done to "fix" schools-especially when the conversation comes back to accountability and firing of bad teachers. 

I don't have the right words or enough of them to adequately provide a written description of how urgent I believe it is that we do something major to demonstrate the following:
1. Education is a profession worth pursuing.
2. Teachers are valuable to our schools and communities and deserve to be compensated accordingly.
3. If we want to recruit and retain the best and brightest, we must provide a competitive compensation package that encourages such instead of doing the opposite.

Some days I feel our profession is under siege in every way. But all I know to do is fight hard, work hard, and be courageous enough to speak the truth. Sometimes my courage scares me. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I can't help it. I lead and work with my heart. It's my blessing and my curse-and also my gift. One thing I know for sure, is somewhere some teacher is reading this and nodding and saying "Amen!" (I'm from the South!) and so glad that I finally wrote what's on their mind and in their heart every single day like it will be tomorrow...when we go back to school and keep trying to MAKE A DIFFERENCE! 

Until Next Time-Be you. Be true. Be a hope builder!

-Latoya
@latoyadixon5

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