Saturday, October 3, 2009

Low Morale

My school system is experiencing "low morale." This is a result of low test scores over several years, becoming a Title 1 because of our free/reduced lunch status, and many many jurisdictions from the state. "Low morale" is a phrase that many people are throwing around. I have been pondering,
"what do we do about low morale?"
"What can I do, right where I am, to improve the morale of my colleagues?"

Ultimately, I can do nothing to change the attitudes of those working around me. But, this attitude, this constant talk about what the "corporation" is doing to us is daunting. I love my school, I love the people that I work with, I love the leadership that my principal provides... I am in a good place. The morale is everywhere! I would dare say that if we took a poll across the United States in public sectors that we would find that most educators are desperate to find the solution that helps our public education. This desperation is good. GOOD? This desperation is good because it can be a proponent for change.
While I can't change the attitudes of my colleagues towards the administration, or the parents, or the state, or our community I can begin discussions that lead to change. Eventually, that discussion will circle around to the real reason why we're all here: the children. I hope to lead that discussion where instead of complaints, and moaning we decide that we can't do anything about the factors and decide to pull ourselves up by the boot straps and do whatever it takes for the sake of these children. We do this by:
-Knowing what we believe to be true about the instruction of reading. What do we know? How do we know it? What kind of research do we have to support it? The rest we throw out.
-What do we know about people that can help us motivate parents, and their children? How can we get them more involved, and how can we show them what to do with their children? Even though we don't have parent teacher conferences because the state took that away from us, we may have to sacrifice our time to help these children and their families.
-What do we believe as teachers individually? What do you believe? Once a teacher has established this they can go into that classroom and put those beliefs into practice. My core stays the same:
I believe that all children can learn, I believe that they learn by doing, and that working with a teacher in a small group, or individually is how they learn best.
These are my beliefs, now I must display that in my teaching.

It is daunting! The teaching of children will always be daunting. Don't come along if you're not up for the task. But, if you are willing, able, and optimistic, come along for the ride. For those of you who are on this ride already, let's talk, but in that talk let's help change occur...

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