5-Minute PD: Uplifting Our Colleagues
by Tom Loud | 03.1.18
I’ve spent the past 11 years teaching at the same school. A big part of my mission is to be the teacher I never had – and for me, that means focusing on relationship-building.
When I was a young student, I never connected with a teacher. I felt like I was just a number and a name on a roster, and I’ve seen now how showing kids they’re welcomed and cared about is foundational. Over the years, I’ve also come to see how relationship-building matters just as much when it comes to our interactions with colleagues.
Last year, after a decade of teaching, I opened up to my colleagues about my own story for the first time. I shared the ways I failed as a student and how I felt my schools failed me. My story seemed to touch people more than I thought it would. I connected with more teachers on Twitter last year, and I found that when I shared, other teachers felt encouraged to as well.
This experience pushed me to reflect on the ways we need to feed ourselves daily as teachers – to reach out and connect with the educators around us. Teaching is a hard job, and it can really affect us as people. I need encouragement, and so do the people around me, so I fit that into my daily routine. It’s kind of like armor we, as teachers, need to wear every day: keeping these words of encouragement in our mind and reminding ourselves why we do what we do. It helps make sure teaching doesn’t become just a job we go to.
I’ve been surprised by how motivating social media can be. It really elevates the voice of teachers, and I don’t think we hear the voices of teachers enough. We all have the professional books on how to teach better, but it’s important to be reminded of the good in our colleagues’ experiences. It helps us grow, too.
So today, I challenge you to say something positive and encouraging to one of your colleagues or someone in your personal learning network. Better yet, try doing it every day. Because our role isn’t just to serve our students, but also to serve each other. When teachers feel encouraged, our kids do better, too.