When someone asks you to recommend a great educational leader, whose names come to your mind?
[CC image credit: Leo Reynolds]
Next question… how many of them are currently in the classroom?
Please don’t get me wrong. This is not a post* that is about bashing administrators, educational consultants, or others whose names often come up in leadership conversations. Some of the people I respect the most and who are my very good friends are people with these titles.
I’m concerned, though, that the lack of respect for classroom teachers isn’t just a problem among non-educators. I think WE are all guilty of it, too.
Oh sure… there are the times when a classroom teacher wins an award with a lot of publicity. You’ll hear that teacher’s name often. He/she might be asked to special events, meet with dignitaries, etc. After a year (or maybe less), nada.
It’s ironic when those of us in education discuss educational reform and blame our society’s lack of respect for the teaching profession… yet, is it all that different in our own ranks? Seriously. When was the last time you had a keynote speaker that was someone in the classroom RIGHT NOW?
Don’t even get me started on the percentage of women or minorities invited to share their expertise. Yes, you could name some right now in the comments section, and they would probably be the same people I would list. Compare that number, however, against the norm.
Is it because we, as classroom teachers, are not great at self-marketing by nature? Is that what it takes? Personally, I get tired of people marketing themselves all over Twitter and blogs. Maybe that’s just me.
Or, and this is my sincere question to you, is it because we really don’t respect the people in the classroom as much as we think we do?
I welcome your thoughts. Thanks for reading.
*Please know that I am more than aware of how important administrators are in a school. They can make such a huge difference in empowering their teachers and children to move forward, take risks, and create an incredible learning environment. I’ve also known, however, many teachers doing amazing things IN SPITE of lousy administrators. This is NOT an anti-admin post.