Teachers Pay Teachers- The Sequel
So my last post did what I intended, it made people think. Way more people than I EVER imagined but obviously it was a topic many had opinions about from both sides of the aisle. I tried not to attack but it is hard to question a person’s thinking without that happening — not impossible, but difficult. Before I get into “the sequel” post let me tell you a little about me…
I am an early childhood educator. Teaching kids is all I have ever done. I taught swim lessons as my first ever job, worked at a daycare through high school and paid my way through college working at another daycare. I graduated with an early childhood degree and my first and only job has been teaching Kindergarten. This coming year will be my 14th year teaching. My journey was not that smooth. I never quite fit the mould of the Kindergarten teacher and was actually told by my professors I would be “the worst teacher in the history of teaching.” Why? Because when I turned in my final end of teaching unit it was in a plain three-ring binder. No glitter, colored pages, feathers, cute font, or perfume spritz all over it. It was simply a binder and my lessons. Great lessons if you ask me, I worked HARD on those lessons to meet the needs of the kids I was teaching. Yet, I got all C’s and was told I would fail as a teacher. Despite that I held firm that the key to teaching was relationships, and that those relationships would make me a success in the classroom. Then I walked into my first class the week before school started and I panicked. What if parents judged me day one based on the room, what if other teachers talked in the workroom about my lack of decorations, what if the kids noticed… I went home and asked my wife to help me decorate. I fell victim to the pressure of cute.
Much has changed and I am more confident now. I have my own style. I want other teachers to feel like they can have their own style and if they don’t have one to be able to build that in a way that is genuine. Teaching is a field full of passion. That is what the TPT post showed me more than anything. We are a passionate bunch and it warms my heart.
So here is my main question: How can we help teachers (especially new teachers) sort through all the resources? Since TPT is the only online resource I am aware of (apparently there are many) that is what I focused on. Where on the site is the discussion and passion that I saw in the comments? Those defending TPT: how do you help teachers find the best materials on the site and get across that they are not the end all be all? I had so many great comments from those that love TPT and I want the wonderful views you had to be part of the site. We can all agree there is junk on the site mixed in with awesomesauce. I heard many times that teachers need to search for the great content on TPT but that seems to go against the notion of it saving them time to use the site. Where is the dialogue happening and how can we make it better?
My second question: How can we bring together Team Cute and Team No Cute? For those of you selling there was an overwhelming response about the cute and I hope you were listening. Sounds like there is a market for a toned down version of what you are doing along with a market for the cute. I mentioned cute because I wanted to “air out” the pressure (see what I did there) that teachers often feel about making their room fit the primary grade standard. The pressure is real and many teachers feel it. My hope is that both teams can see the value in teachers doing what feels most comfortable to them. If you love cute and design is your thing go for it but be conscious of how you react and discuss rooms with others. If you despise cute you must also be conscious of how you react and discuss. We must all keep the focus where it belongs — the children — and I doubt anyone needs a reminder of that. My last point about cute, though, is: What about the boys in your class? Many approaches to cute, themed classroom decor have a very feminine look to them. Everywhere I go I am told we need more males in the classroom yet we all know that is not going to happen. What we really need is the female teachers to work to offer the things they feel a male teacher provides. Beyond that, what about the girls? What message are we sending the girls when we place so much emphasis on appearances?I understand that you spend 36 weeks per year in your classroom and you want to be comfortable, but the reality is: our rooms are not for us, they are for ALL our students. Balance is key.
This blog is a reflection of my thoughts. I love that people view it but the bottom line is I post how I feel. It is how I reflect on what I am doing and my attempt to be a better teacher, nothing more. I hope that you will comment, I appreciate thoughts that pushback against what I post as long as they are civil. Dialogue is valuable and welcome on any of my posts! I hope everyone has a wonderful summer and great start to the school year.