My Fellow Teachers,
The laughter of children tumbling through school hallways is a beautiful sound. They jostle into the classroom, conversing at light speed, louder and louder. To quiet and focus them is an art, and likewise giving them a platform for expressing their ideas. All of us want to be heard. Even the shiest, most introverted person is crying inside to be recognized. More so, we want to be known; we want to be understood.
When have you felt known and understood as a teacher? Who was it that took the time to listen? Who is it now that hears your needs, and acts to meet those needs? Is it someone close by, or someone far away?
Teachers cannot rely on nor be taken care of by disingenuous people. Have you been truly heard, recognized and known by your representation? Do they really know your day-to-day needs, and more importantly, have those needs been met?
Often, I’ve felt like I’m scratching and clawing and screaming to be understood in my position as a teacher. The needs that I have, the support I long for, the solutions I offer. . .bounce back to me as though I’m yelling at a brick wall. Where is the dues-paid, promised platform for my voice? Teachers, who knows us? Who really hears us?
Funny thing about speaking and listening. . .You can’t do both at the same time. Those taking our dues have been speaking. Droning on and on, in fact. Claiming to speak for us, represent us and be there for us. It’s perpetually their turn.
Teachers – it’s our turn to hold the talking stick.