I first started blogging here when I was put on bed rest, mostly because I needed something to minimize the depression and sudden disconnect from teaching.
Then, when I decided to continue my break from the classroom until our little ones are in school, blogging became a way for me to stay involved in the teaching world while meeting our family’s current needs. Because it’s a sponsored blog, it also became a way I could continue to contribute to our family’s finances in a small way.
All of this seems reasonable enough, but that last bit in particular gave me trouble for the first year or so. I struggled with feeling like I had become an outsider selling ideas to teachers still in the trenches.
None of this was helped by the fact that when I first started, I thought I needed to focus my content on what seemed “clickable.” My posts needed to be as shiny, professional, and appealing as possible on a sponsored blog, right?
All of that worry dissolved as soon as I remembered to simply focus on the learning. My learning as well as student learning. Interestingly enough, this became much more practicable for me when I switched to blogging 3 days a week on a topic schedule — it has me looking for learning opportunities everywhere.
I share this story as a way to continue the discussion on teacher’s personal generosity.
Any time we introduce a business element to the teaching profession we run into this pitfall: it becomes a constant incentive to focus on what would sell over what’s best for students and learning. What’s worse is the fact that the shiny glitzy stuff does sell because, well, learning is messy, and who wants to buy messy?
As Edna Sackson pointed out this week:
What are we modelling for our students? Looked at @TpTdotcom – Alarming to see teachers charging/paying for things most generous educators share freely as well as unacknowledged intellectual property of others and mindless materials that add no value to our work as educators.
— Edna Sackson (@whatedsaid) June 5, 2018
In my last post on teacher’s personal generosity, I chose to focus primarily on compassion, understanding that since teachers are so often underpaid and under-budgeted, we should be cautious about judging. I only added a P.S. to watch out for the fluffy extras that have little to do with learning. I now realize that was a mistake, because it fails to acknowledge how tempting it becomes for learning to go out the window when faced with commercialism.
The truth is that whether we’re in or out of the classroom, we’re all surrounded by companies, programs, & yes, “Craptivities” vying for our attention and money. We must be seriously discerning consumers and contributors, filtering out the valuable learning from the time-fillers/control-perpetrators, and welcoming feedback when we fall short (which is, of course, one of the reasons I am so grateful for my PLN!).
Ultimately we can recognize the limitations and strains placed on teachers while also insisting that what we share, buy, retweet, and pin is worthy of our learners — their agency, their voices, and their dignity.
featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto