Teachers often talk about setting students up for success. How can we set students up for success? What should we do? We spend our own money when the school doesn’t have enough to buy folders, stock libraries, obtain pens and pencils, or purchase technology. We get to work early, leave late, and bring papers home to grade on the weekends. Quite frankly, we oftentimes sacrifice too much of ourselves trying to reach others and play into the “teacher martyr syndrome.”
But who out there is trying to set us up for success? Who is willing to understand the complicated nature of the profession instead of reducing an issue that encompasses millions of people in the US alone to reductive terms such as unions protect lazy teachers? In my opinion, there are a number of Western cultures that have an antagonistic relationship with the very people that help build a culture. Unfortunately, Americans are known for not valuing education or its teaching staff (cue video of a school classroom anywhere in the US where kids are not paying the teacher ANY mind, then a scene where an administrator is declaring it’s all the teacher’s fault and his/hers alone). I still wince when remembering how an Australian lecturer said Americans think an educated person is an individual who can answer one out of four questions correctly. That being said, I also heard these very same issues discussed when taking a graduate level Education course in Melbourne, Australia and read about similar concerns in the UK.
School hasn’t started here yet. I’m interested and anxious to see what happens. I’ll be working with an entirely new demographic (race, home language, socio-economic status, etc…) in a new place. One thing I do know, the school is trying to set teachers up for success. The school is ridiculously organized in some aspects, and is working on other areas. I have the technology I want, there’s a beautiful on campus library, and clear systems and procedures in place. The administration is trying to meet my every need so that all I have to focus on is teaching. That makes me feel supported and also lets me know that I better come with my A+++ game. All I ever wanted to do was just teach. This year, I’m crossing my fingers that it might actually occur.