“I can’t believe you did all that. You’re a superhero!”
“My child is bored. I could definitely do your job better and this wouldn’t happen.”
“Can you talk to my child about cleaning their room today? I tried, but they only listen to you.”
“We appreciate all your hard work to make this crazy first week happen! Can you also draft up an email about all these changes and email all your families in the next hour before you go home for the night?”
“I know you’re teaching math, reading, science, social studies, Pandemic health & safety, and social and emotional skills… but there was a major crisis last night so can you figure out a way to cover this in a way that feels authentic. Also make sure everyone feels safe, heard, seen, but not obligated to share.”
Jessie: How teachers are seen by society can shift in the blink of an eye. We can be viewed as superheroes doing the impossible. Other times we’re viewed as the root cause of all the problems in the world. Many seem to think we hold all the power and make all the decisions, and when bad things happen it’s on us. In reality, the majority of decisions are thrust upon us with little to no input from teachers. Yet, we’re on the front lines taking the punches for these decisions.
Joel: Many teachers (myself included) don’t want that superhero hat. We want the same opportunity to be humans- learning, growing, and doing our part in the world. We would love to take off the rollerblades, put down the hula hoops, and just do the job we signed up for – teaching.
Jessie: Unfortunately, society’s expectations of us aren’t going away. The same demands will continue to knock at our door – although we would love a shift in our education system. What we do with those expectations and demands we can control. So Joel and I compiled a list we all need to hear and come back to again and again. Dear teachers, here are: 5 Things You Have Permission For. Let’s do this.
5 Things You Have Permission For
Jessie: The teaching profession is riddled with guilt. We are impacting the lives of children on such a deep level. And children are LITERALLY our future. They will be the ones calling all the shots someday, so we want to do our best to make sure they turn out okay.
Joel: Working with young people can be incredibly fulfilling, but it definitely comes with guilt. I don’t think I’ve met a single teacher that hasn’t had to fight back the guilt of “am I doing enough?”
Jessie: Teachers are probably the hardest on themselves, but society and the current reality of our education system don’t ease many of those guilty feelings.
Joel: So, we compiled a shortlist: 5 Things Every Teacher Has Permission For. This list is based on our own experience as educators and many conversations with teachers in our lives. Here we go.
You have permission…
- To Not Be Okay
- To Make Mistakes
- To Not Have All The Answers
- To Not Enjoy Teaching
- To Have A Life
Jessie: It’s easy to hear this list and nod your head in agreement, but it’s through our stories that we truly relate to one another and feel less alone as educators. Personally, I tend to think everyone is doing above and beyond what I’m able to do. Hearing the experiences of others make us feel less alone.
Tune in to the podcast to hear our examples of this list. And FYI – Joel has been teaching for 15 years and I’ve been teaching for 8 years. We still need to hear this list just as much as teachers in their first year.
Call to action
Jessie: And we always like to end with a clear action step. Save this list somewhere. It’s typed out and linked below with a few more tips and words of advice. Or simply write down the list in your journal. Pull it up when you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. You are not alone. You do NOT need to be a superhero. It’s okay to be human just like everyone else.
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All the Good Stuff
- 5 Things You Have Permission For (Guide)
- Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
- Educated by Tara Westover