Confessions of a Teacher

Dear Teacher Friends, It’s Time to Show More Empathy

It’s always wonderful when teachers from different parts of the world can come together and laugh, joke, complain, or cry about the same common things happening in our classrooms. 
“I’ll Wait.”
“Where are all my pencils?”
“This PD could’ve been an e-mail!”
*Insert teacher on the way to break meme*
Yes, we can all agree on the experiences above. We love to share memes and use the #TeachersOfInstagram or #EduTwitter to express ourselves, especially in teacher groups and threads. 
But what about the experiences that divide us down the middle?
I’m a part of a teacher group on Facebook and saw a post the other day from a teacher who was upset about what they were seeing in the group. 
To summarize without searching through the hundreds of other comments made in the group:
“All I see in here is complaining! How do you think you’re making the new teachers feel? If you don’t like it then leave.”
You already know what came next. #ImJustHereForTheComments
Teachers began to storm into this post like fire, ready with a backlash to inform this person about what teachers are truly going through. 
It made me take a step back and think. Are there really teachers out there who aren’t having a fraction of the issues I’m having? Do schools exist where teachers are trusted to simply teach and not focus so heavily on data? Are there really administrators who have the students’ best intentions at heart and not trying to get ahead or prove themselves by being disrespectful to the staff? You mean to tell me there are teachers who smile waking up, smile when they get to school, enjoy their classes, students, parents, and administrators, to the point that when they’re leaving, they’re still just as happy? At least 75% of the time?
The answer is yes. 
There are so many different experiences that teachers are having in different cities, states, and countries. Some, like mine, are consistently chaotic and have teachers ready to yell “I Quit” at least 3 times throughout the day. Others are overflowing with respect, trust, and love for their school and couldn’t imagine leaving. 
When I see a post on #edutwitter talking about giving my kids a chance and making sure that I hug them multiple times throughout the day, a part of me chuckles to myself and says “If that works for your kids, great.” When I see all of the great activities posted, new educator books being celebrated, and schools engaged in activities and programs, I always ask myself “Where are these schools located? Who is this working for? What in the world are they doing?”
But I have to realize that there are people on the opposite side of the spectrum who read my articles, see my posts about teaching and ask the same questions, just from a different lens and experience. 
At the end of the day, whether you agree with another educator’s comments, writing pieces, or posts, we have to all understand that everyone has their own experience. There are people who enjoy every second of their career and plan to retire out of teaching. Then there are others who can’t see themselves going past 5 years. 
Being rude and judgemental on social media saying “Just quit!”, or “Glad that works for YOU, but not my kids!”, doesn’t help our community. Whether we like it or not, there’s no group of people who understand us better or cheers us on when we’ve done one or two things to help our students become better people. 
No matter what district, city, state, country, or continent, we’re a tribe. An elite club. 
For some of us, we get judged, talked about, and feel defeated on multiple occasions throughout the school day. But we know that our safe place is among each other, whether digitally or in person. Being around a fellow educator is where we feel heard and understood the most. 
It’s time to show more empathy towards one another and respect each other’s experiences. 
So the next time you see a post that reflects the opposite of your personal experience with teaching, you have two options:
Offer encouragement, support, and a few ideas to help
Say nothing and keep scrolling. 


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