I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time staying really positive about education.

You might be thinking, “Oh yeah, she’s having a hard time being positive about education because there are so many things WRONG with our field, I can relate.”

Well, actually that’s not why I’m having a hard time staying positive.

It’s actually because I can’t believe how many educators are negative.  Really.  So many conversations I hear about in schools and district offices are about what’s going wrong, not what’s going right.

I’m not naive enough to think that things won’t go wrong or be tough or even seem insurmountable in our field, but how we react to things?  It’s 100% our choice.  And I think we’re choosing to be pretty negative.  And, most discouraging, we’re sending that message out into the world.

Do you want to know the last time I heard someone say, “Oh, you were a teacher – you’re so lucky!”

Well, let’s see…hmmmm…never.

Instead, what I hear from my non-teaching friends and acquaintances are things like, “Poor teachers don’t make much money,” or “I feel so badly for teachers because they have to deal with so many ‘bad’ kids,” or “Educators don’t even get their full summers off anymore!”

Doesn’t that bug you that the first response from most people when they hear that you’re in education is, well, pity?  That’s embarrassing to me.

I chose teaching as my career.

It wasn’t thrust upon me.  Nobody forced me to do my student teaching.  No one shackled me to take the C-BEST exam for my teaching license.  No one put a gun to my head and make me show up for my teaching interviews.  No one is even forcing me to stay a teacher if I felt like it didn’t fit my goals any longer.

I chose it.  And I choose it.

And because I chose it, I have to take responsibility for it.  For all of it: the good, the bad and the ugly.

And so do you.

Yep, we’ve got a lot of meetings.  So do attorneys.

We’ve got a lot of deadlines.  So do architects.

We’ve get a lot of flack from our parents.  So do sales representatives from their customers.

We’ve got long hours working outside of our “contract” hours.  So do doctors.

We don’t get a lot of “attaboys.” Neither do car repairmen.

We live and die by our performance scores.  So does virtually every other professional.

And don’t EVEN begin to tell me that all of those above examples make more money than we do.  Yep, they probably do, but with a lot more risk – their paychecks are much more intimately tied to their performance than ours are.  The risk is equal to the benefits.

The SECOND we come together as educators and represent our field of education with pride, we’ll be treated with greater dignity and respect.

It’s our call.