Twitter has been an interesting ecosystem of #diyPD. Most, if not all, of the teachers present are looking for opportunities for professional growth and connection. But lately, I’ve noticed some push-back in discussions.
When someone talks about being inspired to do better, others say they are already maxed out.
When someone says they want to better model reading, others say they are too buried for personal reading.
When someone expresses excitement about some flexible seating they received through a grant, others say they’ll wait for higher-ups to fund it because who has time for grant-writing!
When someone asserts that they are not helpless and they can be the change, others say we must stop trying to depend on teachers to save society.
When someone talks about working to improve relationships and model learning, others say teaching should not be this hard: we teach content, students work on assignments, we grade.
And honestly, as much as we’d all like to focus on the positive that inspires, it’s important to acknowledge that there are legitimate concerns to be reckoned with across the spectrum here. Particularly when it comes to the concept of what it means to be a professional.
After all, it’s easy to say something like, “If we want to be treated like professionals, we have to act like professionals.” But if teachers are not given the support they really need, the expectations for going the extra mile should be zero.
It really becomes a “chicken and the egg” debate. Does showing initiative help others value teachers as professionals, or does valuing teachers as professionals cause them to take initiative? I’ve seen Twitter threads where teachers mourn for lost opportunities for them to take professional development into their own hands (like Edcamps), and I’ve seen threads where administrators mourn for the fact that none of the teachers will take advantage of the various professional development opportunities available.
For teachers who feel maxed out by unrealistic expectations, (especially the “cult of the superteacher” variety), maybe the diyPD needs to focus on self care. For instance, they might:
- check out hashtag #teacherwellness on Twitter and Instagram
- browse the Teacher Wellness articles on Edutopia (I especially recommend “The Necessity of Boundaries“)
- look into Teacher Self Care Conferences
- be intentional refilling your cup, knowing that it deserves just as much if not more consideration than everything else on your to-do list
For teachers who are feeling inspired to shake up the status quo, maybe the diyPD needs to focus on building community. They might:
- jump in on building a PLN (see “Unlocking Twitter’s Classroom Potential” or “Inquiry into Tech Use: Twitter Edition“)
- find ways to connect local experts to your learners
- develop your students’ digital citizenship, helping them find meaningful ways to connect with peers around the globe (see the Digital Citizenship & PLN section)
It’s likely that for all of us, our needs and capacity will shift over time. Sometimes, we will need to focus more on self-care, and sometimes we will need a challenge. Often, it’s a blend of the two. Sometimes, challenging the status quo will even be necessary for teachers to feel more confident with self-care (& vice versa!).
Whatever the case, we should be mindful about what’s doable for our ever-shifting personal circumstances. Say no to keep those boundaries maintained, and also be intentional about our yes’es to help us grow and to better reach our students.
featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto