There’s a section in Liz Jazwiec’s book Eat That Cookie: Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off… For Individuals, Teams and Organizations, that is titled “Stop Beating Up on Healthcare.” In it Jazwiec talks about how there is no one harder on healthcare than the people working in it. Then she says (p. 7),
STOP THAT! We have to stop it. We do wonderful work. If we are ever going to create a positive work environment, we have to stop talking trash about healthcare. We are blessed to work in an environment where we can truly make a difference. We need to embrace that, feel great about it, and share it with others (p. 7).
Parallel to education? Arguably, yes. Below, some of the Studer Education team members share their messages to teachers and school leaders:
A teacher is often a child’s hero and sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and forget what a difference you are really making.
You make a difference. I think that it’s easy to dwell on the students we don’t reach, the promising teachers who opt out of the profession, the skillful principals who take a job for more money elsewhere. These perceived failures occur. At the same time, we can’t know if that unreachable student changes her course 5 years later, if teachers who are “driven” from the classroom actually find their gifts are better applied elsewhere, or if the next principal we hire will be an even-greater superstar for students. It can be hard to remember that, “When we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we may never see, will benefit from our action,” as Maya Angelou writes. But it’s true.
Far too often we… tend to use “we /they” in order to place blame on someone else… My message is simple-take ownership of your happiness and in creating a positive work environment. The change can start with 1 person.
… As a parent if I hear [negativity about education], I wonder: Have they lost the passion to teach? Is my child really going to a bad school? Is the education system failing my kid? It’s important to [eliminate] the negative words used in school, home, or out in public… Instead of complaining, offer suggestions to make it better. Begin by making your own environment (classroom or school) a better place and then watch as it begins to spread.
Teachers are experts in their field… We need to focus… on utilizing teachers with what they do best: use their creativity to plan and teach their students.
We’ve got good people who want to make a difference as teachers and school leaders. Let’s help them get the tools, training, and supportive environment they need to help students achieve beyond their expectations.
Some teachers do amazing work each day for the students in their classroom and some leaders set high expectations for everyone and create a culture of high performance for everyone in their leadership proximity. We need to recognize the work of these leaders and teachers and work to ensure that every child has this teacher and this leader.
Help create positive conversations about education, in schools and in classrooms. As educators we are in control of celebrating our accomplishments. “It will not only help us to reach our goals and be better teams, it will also serve as a reminder about the great things that happen in [education] every day” (Jazwiec, p. 76). This helps us stay focused on What’s Right in Education.
Jazwiec, Liz. 2009. Eat That Cookie: Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off… For Individuals, Teams and Organizations. Gulf Breeze, FL: Fire Starter Publishing.
Our mission at Studer Education’s EBL K12 is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we partner with teachers and leaders to create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://eblk12.com to learn more about Studer Education and Evidence-Based Leadership in K12. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.