It’s been awhile since I posted, and I haven’t really thought through in advance what I’m writing but it feels like it’s time to write again, so here goes!
Recently in my department we had the opportunity to take a professional day as a group of high school Spanish teachers to discuss philosophy, articulation of curriculum, and other issues. This was a rare and valuable opportunity to hash out differences that may have been lingering for years and start dialogue moving in a direction that was solution-focused rather than problem-based.
I was so thankful for this day. Recently, although I love what I do in the classroom, the politics of teaching have been weighing on me. These politics seem present at every level – nationally, state-wide, locally, in our building, and even down to our very department and language groups. Politics, I remember, were something I was warned about as a pre-service teacher. I remember kind of naively thinking “I won’t get sucked into those! That’s not helpful to kids! I’ll stay positive and out of the teacher’s lounge forever!” While these thoughts may have been admirable, I now realize how real politics are in the teaching profession. And while I am still convinced it’s important to try to avoid getting too “sucked in” to them, I admit that they sometimes need to be addressed.
Last week, I am happy to report, we were able to work through some of the politics that have historically interfered with our ability, as a spanish department, to collaborate effectively. We came together, communicated effectively, and compromised openly about curriculum and what we believe is best for kids. It was such a relief to leave this day – a weight had been lifted.
We still have a long ways to go…but we’re finally moving in the right direction. And it’s fantastic to be able to look all of my colleagues in the eye as we cross each other’s paths during the day, ask how they are, and really want to know rather than avoid interaction. I also, for the first time in a long time, can picture myself working in this setting for longer than I have before. I still don’t know how long K-12 Education will be for me, but, 5 years in, I don’t see myself leaving any time soon.