When I hear teacher’s unions and educators crab about how teacher evaluations and high expectations of teachers aren’t fair, my blood boils. Does yours?
If you don’t get your feathers ruffled by this kind of talk, then I wonder if somewhere along the line we’ve gotten confused on what expectations are. I posted a picture below of the definition that dictionary.com uses for “pride” – to me high expectations of teachers and pride are synonymous…they go hand in hand.
Think about it – when you’re having a dignified guest over to your house (whether it be for a work or church-related party or even a relative or friend that you’re entertaining for a meal), what do you do?
You zhuzh (I learned this word watching a reality TV-show a long time ago…it describes spiffing things up perfectly!).
You make your best and most favorite dishes.
You bring out the good china or stemware.
You plan out when you need to put things in the oven so that they’re warm and ready to serve when your guests arrive.
You prioritize this event above “regular life” – you have different standards, HIGHER standards for when company comes!
And then there’s that either right before they arrive or right after they leave moment when you look around and you think, “I did a good job! My house looked great! The food was yummy! The time I spent prepping paid off!”
That’s pride. Prioritizing for the special guest, planning and orchestrating, prepping and time-lining, delivering the best with flair…and then lapping up the “props” that come with it!
I think of how I entertain or get ready for a party at my house. And by the way, when I’m entertaining someone it’s because I want to show my BEST!
It doesn’t matter that 20 minutes before they showed up, the plumbing backed up and I started crying because I was so frustrated.
It doesn’t matter that 30 minutes before they showed up, so did the meter reader – -they needed to talk in THAT MOMENT about the amount of natural gas I was using.
It doesn’t matter that 45 minutes before they arrived the steaks were still frozen because I forgot to take them out of the freezer and put them into the fridge before I left for the morning.
It doesn’t matter that if they opened the hall closet 900 boxes of wayward Christmas ornaments that I haven’t yet placed on the tree would come tumbling out.
IT DOESN’T MATTER!
Because that’s my job when I entertain – to make it look seamless so that my guests can enjoy their time at my house.
And I love every minute of it.
I think of increasing the expectations of teachers in the same way. (And increasing the expectations of principals and coaches…of course!).
In my opinion and experience, pride in our profession is at an all-time low. There is much more negative press about teaching and teachers than ever before. (In fact as I went to get my holiday touch-up and hair-do fix, my hairdresser said, “Oh poor teachers, they just don’t get paid enough…” Huh?) And yet we’re looking to attract the best and brightest to the profession. And we’re looking to be valued. And we desire more clout. With such negative press?
It just doesn’t add up to me.
Here’s what I suggest for us: we start by having pride in what we do.
TRUST ME (and you know this): Pride doesn’t come from being paid more. Pride doesn’t come from other people saying “good job” more often.
Pride comes from having high expectations for myself – even when no one is looking. ESPECIALLY when no one is looking. And then when I’ve accomplished what it is I set out to accomplish, I look back and say, “Well done and nice job!”. If my principal or evaluator happens to be looking at my teaching during that time…great! If not, oh well – I know I was looking!
So when we look at expectations of teachers and what our evaluations are based on, we should say “bring it on!” because we know we’re poised for excellent results and fantastic outcomes. And that comes from the inside.
Yeah, the outside validation is great and I love it, but the pride comes from within.
Oh, and that reminds me of a quote I love:
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.
– John Wooden