This has been a difficult post to sit down and write. Not because I cannot think of topics or policies to address, but because I have so many that I want to address. I have found myself chasing my proverbial tail trying to keep up with all of the policies, politics, and educational responsibilities that I have. Our system is in such a precarious place, once again, that I feel like I cannot waste a single opportunity to use my voice to advocate for students or education.
I sat down recently and talked to my work bestie about the weight and responsibilities of being teacher leaders. We talked about how it can feel overwhelming, especially when your (way more than) full time job is teaching, yet you have so many other responsibilities and opportunities to serve your profession. As educators, we all love what we do and find ourselves looking at teaching as more than a career, it becomes a life style and a type of personal identification. My bestie and I explored topics of funding and what new legislation could mean for our class sizes and teacher retention next year. We discussed what it was like prior to the recession when we had paraprofessionals and aides and class sizes that were capped below their current number. As we looked around we were once again reminded that many faces sitting in the room with us have only been teaching 2, 3, or maybe 4 years. They have no idea what it was like to be an educator prior to the recession and many of them have never taught in other states where the educational system, though it is by no means perfect, operates very differently. Those times when I get frustrated that we are not all demanding change with one solid voice, I have to remember that to many educators these rough landscapes of education are the only reality that they know. It took me 10 years, and an amazing support system that believed in me more than I believed in myself, to begin to navigate the complex field of educational advocacy.
I am still frustrated that we are not advocating harder and in unison for Arizona students. I am frustrated that my voice is not moving mountains or reshaping landscapes. I am frustrated with myself because I am not finding the words I need to express to our newer educators what once was, or is helping students find success in other states’ public school systems. I remind myself that frustration will not get us any where, we must continue to be bold, educate those around us to what the issues are and how a systematic change must occur in order to improve education for all students.
My ask is that we keep up educational happenings without overwhelming ourselves to a point of frenzy. Figure out what your go to sources are for accurate and current professional information. Lastly, let’s work together to handle the frustration that comes with overcoming these obstacles and creating the education system that we want for our students.