Are You, As A Teacher, An Advocate For Our Profession?

Question for the week… With there being a teacher shortage, are you, as a teacher, an advocate for our profession?

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First, let me say that I enjoy being an educator. For those who know me, I hope you can say that my passion for education and educational leadership is very high. With that being said, I also know that there are times when teaching can wear you down. The list of items that go to this is endless, but that might be a topic for a future blog. Anyway…

I enjoy seeing teachers who are passionate about their jobs. But how many teachers do we see and hear who are not? That bothers me. For example, a future teacher recently told me that a high school teacher asked what she wanted to do. When she said she wanted to be a teacher, the actual teacher told her, “Good luck with that.” Why would they say that?

For the most part, society does not help advocate the teaching profession. Society will quickly tell us what is wrong with our profession and how we can do it better. I have always said that we are in trouble when we allow non-educators to make educational decisions. If we do not see ourselves as advocates for education, we leave the door open to the outside to determine our standing.

Teachers who are advocates see the end goal of education. They see growing students to become productive citizens in society. They look beyond students being “test scores” and provide an environment that is welcoming and conducive to learning. This is what passion for being an educator is about. It’s about telling success stories that are positive and uplifting. But, as we know, it’s only the negative stories that travel at a great speed…

Take this from one of my go-to “old heads” of education… “There is nothing ever printed or said about the positive aspects of teaching-with those in the profession being the most negative. The intrinsic values are rarely voiced. Being a teacher is the most valuable profession a young person can pursue, but most never hear many positive aspects that make it appealing!!! Just my humble opinion!!!”

I’ll go on and say this, if you are a teacher who cannot speak positively and advocate for our profession, please leave the profession and let those who want to be educators set ablaze the way that will light the way for many others. Yes, there are things wrong with education, just like any other business, but I get sick of hearing the statement, “You signed up for this.” That’s just bad leadership all the way around. These negative nay-sayers teachers are a disease to the profession and will create sores that fester and affect everyone around.

By nature, passionate people inspire. Why not do that for future educators? As I said in last week’s blog The Lengthening of the Teacher Shortage… Is there an end?, “We must give those who are even remotely thinking about becoming an educator a reason to be one. However, if our future teachers are in our schools today, and they are, how do you think they look at the teaching profession when they see us and what we do? It’s a question worth asking and, more importantly, answering… We must give teachers hope, for we are the only model future teachers see.”

Educators today have a choice, do we promote our profession, or do we sever the connection and let society or even other teachers determine our value? Do we love teaching to the point where we believe all children should be afforded equal learning opportunities? Or will we be defined by negative comments made by some in our profession who see teaching as a lonely, lowly job?

Punt that, I’m choosing to be an advocate and a leader of the profession that I love.

Let’s go fight the good fight of leadership. Someone has to…

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2023 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

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The Lengthening of the Teacher Shortage… Is there an end?

Scrolling through Twitter today, I saw a post from Mississippi Professional Educators that showed that for the 22-23 school year, Mississippi has 2,593 teaching vacancies statewide. 2,593? Yes, you read that correctly. Are you having the OMG moment? The breakdown: 822 elementary school teachers, 376 middle school teachers, 811 high school teachers, and 584 K-12 teachers. To throw some more numbers at you, there are 202 K-12 licensed educator vacancies, 82 administrator vacancies, and 2,111 K-12 support staff vacancies. The good news is that these numbers are down 443 from the 21-22 school year.

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Now, let’s not forget that the Mississippi Legislature provided an unprecedented salary raise to public school educators last year. While that may have enticed some to stay in education and some to go into teaching, with 2,593 vacancies, more is needed to solve the teacher shortage problem. Think on this also, according to the Economic Policy Institute, teachers make about 20% less than other professionals with similar education and experience.

In a great opinion piece, Mississippi Must Continue to Invest in Its Educator Pipeline, by Toren Ballard in the Magnolia Tribune, Mr. Ballard makes this statement, “The 2022 pay raise was a promising development for enabling upward mobility in K-12 education, but its impact was stymied by record inflation over the last year: if we account for inflation, the $4,500 increase to the starting salary only boosted pay in ‘real dollars’ by $1,346 from the year before.” Quick math equates to $112 a month.

So, is money still the answer to solving the teacher shortage? I don’t know. It would certainly help, but… the value we place on ourselves differs from what others will place. Another good read by Toren Ballard on the teacher shortage is Eyeing the Exit: Teacher Turnover and What We Can Do About It. That said, we must give those who are even remotely thinking about becoming an educator a reason to be one. However, if our future teachers are in our schools today, and they are, how do you think they look at the teaching profession when they see us and what we do? It’s a question worth asking and, more importantly, answering.

Helping someone discover a reason to want to do something creates an intrinsic value that becomes personalized. When that happens, good things happen. We must give teachers hope, for we are the only model future teachers see. At the same time, a value will always be or not be placed on us as educators by others.

Let’s go fight the good fight of leadership. Someone has to…

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2023 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

Want to share this leadership thought with others? Click on one of the social media sharing buttons below and help spread the good…

Odds, Probability, Alternative – Words in Education We Should Not Have To Gamble With!

“But odds are only created if a probability exists that there is an alternative.”

I ran across that sentance in Robert Dugoni’s book What She Found, which I am currently reading. Two ideas jumped out as I reread that sentence. First, as a math teacher, I was like, “Yep, that makes sense.” Second, I realized some things should never have to have odds or an alternative. Where’s that idea going? Well, I’m glad you asked. 

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As an educator, education should not have an alternative. What? We either offer an education or we do not. What are the odds that a student receives an equitable education? Well, this question should not have be asked either. We find ourselves moving into 2023 and the second semester of the school year, wondering how to continue to educate when, for the most part, in many school settings, we find that we cannot. You might say, “Well, where I live, we have a great school, and our children get a great education.” I can say the same for where I live.

But, as I look across the state, and you do not have to travel far, many schools need more resources and community support that are clearly defined in other places. One might say, “This is due to the community’s tax base.” Ok, I get that. But why should that matter when it comes to educating the future of our state? As you know, so many variables, and let’s also add excuses, exist on why children do not get a “proper” education. They range from the lack of leadership, teachers, parenting, counseling, facilities, curriculum, and the list goes on… However, receiving an equitable education should never be an issue. 

Until we can find a way to offer an equitable education, we will continue to deal with odds, probability, and alternatives when it comes to education. When we have to add those words to our educational system, the level of success will be determined by those same words. It should not be a gamble. 

Let’s go fight the good fight of leadership. Someone has to…

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2023 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

Want to share this leadership thought with others? Click on one of the social media sharing buttons below and help spread the good…

 

Wishing You A Very Mathematical Merry Christmas 2022…

Allen Marett and I stated doing these videos three years ago. We just wanted to have some fun and spread some Christmas Math Love. Anyway… Here is our video for 2022. Hope you enjoy.

Here are the links to the previous two:

2020 https://www.facebook.com/100013664620751/videos/639236927490192/

2021 https://www.facebook.com/100013664620751/videos/1080633885735422/

Let’s go fight the good fight of leadership. Someone has to…

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

Want to share this leadership thought with others? Click on one of the social media sharing buttons below and help spread the good…