In our quest to create optimally sized schools and balance our educational budgets might we be losing one of the most important pieces in education, the teacher? I recently had a teacher tell me that she was not acknowledged or greeted by an administrator on her site as they passed each other in a school hallway. In fact, it appeared as though she wasn’t recognized as being part of the faculty. You might be thinking that this teacher could be new to the school or possibly the administrator is new, but this is not the case.
This encounter got me thinking about the value of a teacher or at least how a teacher might feel about his or her own worth. Teaching is often a very isolating profession, we as teachers spend a lot of time with students doing what we love most, teaching. During the few moments of the day when we are not with our students we often seek out other adults to connect with, our conversations are just like those you might have at work, we discuss the weather, families, weekend plans and work. These relationships with our colleagues are part of our social structure and we depend on them to enhance our working conditions and to strengthen our bonds as a school.
I can only guess as to how a teacher might feel about their self worth and their value to a school when they are ignored or unrecognized. Our students cannot afford to have disenfranchised teachers or teachers that are uncertain as to their role in the school community. Too often I hear of teachers that are leaving the profession because they are not valued or feel as though they have no voice in the decision making process. Are we creating a culture of anonymous teachers?
It is often said that one of the most important factors in effective teaching is the relationship between teacher and student. I wonder if the same is true about the relationship between teachers and their colleagues.