I've spoken with a lot of educators recently who are anxious or stressed at the thought of work. They enjoy working with young people and often love their subject matter. Yet, when it comes to putting those elements together as professional educators, the job weighs on their heart and mind. Many of the most dedicated teachers I know have a difficult time stepping out of their car and walking into their school each day because of the Quit Point associated with unrealistic expectations. If the community of educational professionals is going to continue to make strides in personalized learning opportunities and future success of young learners, we need a shift in our expectations.
It is difficult, particularly at this time of year, to separate the stressors of the school year from the passion that drove us into this field in the first place. Emails, parent contacts, grading, new lessons, learning and incorporating new technology, district-wide initiatives, and standardized state testing are enough to drive even the most dedicated and resilient teachers out of the profession. It may be time for people at all levels of education to reset our expectations to what matters most: the people we have the opportunity to nurture on a daily basis. At their core, they don't care about testing schedules or teacher evaluation rubrics. They care about feeling comfortable, safe, and welcome with the opportunity to be successful. That should be our expectation.