You’ve Been Served

Mike Lee Education, Elementary

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I've been serving my teachers quite a bit, lately.  For the past few weeks I've had to publish several versions of potential and varied staffing assignments and share a whole host of ominous news about the looming funding crisis for Arizona educators.  I've served them nothing but contradictory, confusing, and generally discouraging news about public education, and they deserve better.  

I expect my teachers to then turn to their students and deliver good news.  News about a bright future, college, and reaching a lofty potential.  News about history, how to be a scientist, and how to always remain a lifelong learner.  

But, if there is anything that animates such lifelong learning, it's curiosity, with the scent of optimism.

Thoughts of holding their jobs, increased class sizes, potential pay cuts, and furloughs linger in their minds.  Those things don't smell of optimism, and they don't lend themselves to creating the kind of energy needed to perform for students, everyday.  But they try.  They do their best.  They stay in it for kids.  Let's hope for the same effort from politicians and decision-makers.

So, yesterday I served them something different for a change.  I had no good news to share, other than that each has the other's back.  I had no relief for the constant battle for appropriate credibility, but the families of their students think they are more than amazing.  This staff is like my family – only far more sane – and we needed to reconnect in a very simple way.

From a rolling cart that was decorated by my office staff like a runaway Mardi Gras float, we served them coffee, donuts, bagels with cream cheese, and a smorgasbord of carbohydrate-based breakfast treats.  In the afternoon, we revisited their rooms to deliver custom made ice cream sundaes in front of their adoring students, all of whom beamed to see their teachers be celebrated for no apparent reason.  

But there was a reason.  They are not just appreciated by their families.  They do more than they know and  I hope to serve them good news, soon.  Something more than ice cream, chocolate syrup, and sprinkles.  Perhaps a break in the tide of exhausting headlines or some political insight that makes them feel supported in their mission for children.

But until then,  it turns out that sprinkles and a cherry on top of what gets served does help.  

At least for one day.

 

 

 

 

Mike Lee

Phoenix, Arizona

I am the Director of Outreach and Engagement for The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and certified as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2004. In 2012, I received my doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, however, I began my work in education serving as a para-educator in a special education program while still an undergraduate. My passions in the field include assessment and reporting strategies, the evolving role of technology, teacher leadership, and effective professional development that permanently impacts instruction. I consider myself a professional teacher first, as well as a professionally evolving lifelong learner, who is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to impact the lives of children.

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