Here’s what I’ve learned in the last 16 years…
Teaching is only as enjoyable as the principal you work for.
Good principals are the exception, not the norm.
The best time to be a teacher is June through August.
Whereas I only have five years of experience, when I read this, I am sad. Perhaps these comments will be helpful. If you agree or even if you disagree, then leave some comments and let’s start a dialogue about these issues. I don’t think that Howard is the only one who sees things this way. In fact, there are numerous “Howards” at every school I’ve ever taught at. He loves teaching! But he doesn’t thrive and actually live for teaching like he one envisioned doing. In some ways, he has lost some of his hope. I’m not trying to pick on him or anything, I want to analyze his comments a little bit more in depth. Let’s look at some of these comments and see what can be done about them.
Teaching is only as enjoyable as the principal you work for
To me, this is a defeatist mindset. It seems like Howard has chosen to let life happen to him, rather than happening to life. Habit 1 (from Seven Habits for Highly Effective People) is Be Proactive. This means that you happen to life; you make things happen.
When I began teaching, I had no idea how to keep students quiet. I worked for a great principal. But the students would not stay quiet so I could teach them everything I knew to teach them. I didn’t enjoy teaching. I went home each night and wondered what I had gotten myself into. I had a great principal, but I didn’t enjoy it. The problem was me.
At the other end of the spectrum, I have known teachers who taught in situations with very ineffective administrators.
That’s not an attack on their character. It’s very easy to be efficient and not effective. Despite these ineffective administrators, there are many teachers who thrive in doing what they do. Obviously, they are living contrary to this principle.
To quote Chuck Smith, “Any dead fish can float down the stream. It takes a live fish to swim against the current.”
Good principals are the exception, not the norm
While this is generally true, there is good that can be found in nearly every experience you have with administrators. Maybe it’s my youth getting in the way here, but I think that everyone has something valuable that can be learned from
them. Even if it’s helping you define what it is that you want from an administrator. Again, this is a defeated person. Everyone’s out to get me. I just might as well accept that. Sad.
The best time to be a teacher is June through August
I don’t know about other teachers, but I find myself becoming extremely bored during the summer. I love being able to catch up on things that too often get neglected during the school year. I love being able to travel and visit family. But I really miss impacting lives. I know that when I grow up, get married, and have children of my own it will be a little different. I miss the smiles of the students coming in ready to learn. I miss seeing progress in lives.
Ultimately, it boils down to this:
When we base our own happiness on external circumstances, we are building a bad foundation. A wise man once said: Don’t worry, be happy. (video)