No Teacher is an Island
When you have great colleagues, you have a chance at being successful. But if those colleagues become family, you’re blessed. Many times, we struggle in the workplace because we don’t have anyone that we can trust- we have no one we can lean on. But in this here place of employment, when you’re alone, you sink.
Educators have stressful jobs. Now, this is not to say that other careers aren’t stressful. But we make everything possible. And when things go wrong- we bear the brunt of the blame. It’s taxing and, oftentimes, it’s unfair. But if you have at least one person in your building that you can cling to, you can make it.
I am a firm believer in establishing and building relationships be it with the kids or the other adults in the building. These relationships can make the year roll by smoothly or the lack thereof can make you wish you’d never taken a position at a particular institution. I have been blessed to have colleagues that have become friends that have become family. When times get rough, we are each other’s safe place. We are each other’s person. If one is in need, we come through for each other. In short- we are our sisters’ keepers. Each has a bond with the other that is significant and special in its own right. And when we come together- we can either construct a building or tear it down. It just depends on which version of ourselves is needed that day.
I’ve often stated that the retention of teachers has little to do with how bad or good the students are- but it has everything to do with relationships we build and the connections we make with others. No teacher is an island. Administrators and school leaders should do as much as they can to include culture building and staff bonding activities. Teachers need to know that it’s ok to lean on someone- you don’t have to go at it alone. Teachers should have someone close by that they can trust to watch their class when they need to step out and breathe, someone they can vent to, someone they can bounce ideas off, someone they can practice lessons on, someone they can learn strategies from and share strategies with. In short, teachers should have a buddy- a partner- they can turn to whether it be to celebrate or vent frustrations.
This is how we improve! Kids know when teachers don’t interact or get along. They feed off our energy and model our behavior. Why not set a positive example of what healthy relationships and friendships look like? After all, the most valuable lessons we will ever teach them won’t come from a textbook- they will come from our actions.