Sharing openly (March Post 4)

Slice of Life logoWhen I began teaching we lived in a world of closed doors. We did not want people watching our teaching and we certainly did not share what we were doing. I can’t say where that fear came from but I learned quickly that I was out of sync with the “norm”.

I kept my door open, was happy when people can in.  Parents, other teachers – it didn’t matter. It is not that I thought I was a great teacher. No in fact it was the opposite. I questioned everything I did. I wanted to know from others if I was on the right track. I wanted to know if they had a better way to teach a topic or work with a student. My behavior was not the norm.

As the years rolled by the profession as a whole began to push doors open, we teamed with each other, we shared our work. We started looking at student work, started having professional discussions to help push our understanding of students and how best to reach them.

We began to slowly build a trust level among our colleagues. We became a learning community just like we want our students to have. We were a group of learners who shared their successes and their challenges. A group that stated what was working and where we needed help. We were open with each other.

Time has continued to march on with high stakes testing, more teacher evaluation/professional observation and the pressure mounting as student expectations also increase.

Teachers are working harder than ever to meet the needs of all students but also worrying. With that worry comes those moment of uncertainty. Should I ask for help? Should I just close my door for now until I am sure of myself?  Maybe I can ask my on-line community.  They don’t know where I teach. I don’t think I should say something at school yet. Who should I talk to about an issue with one of my students?

Have you thought these thoughts? Can you hear it?  We are on the edge of closing our doors again. We are not sure what feels safe.

It is that sense of safety that helped us to open doors, listen to each other, to be learners. It is what we all value here in this writing community. We feel safe to share openly with other teachers. (I noticed that I don’t always share openly my writing at school.  Hmm?? I wonder why?)

After a long talk with a teacher friend last night I can only hope and ask that we keep our doors open, support each other as we strive to reach each child’s needs. That we reach out to new and developing teachers to let them know it is safe to ask questions, to share ideas and to support each other.

Teaching is a tough job and we need to stand along side each other as an on going learning community. We all need help and we all have things to share.

Who have you shared with lately?  Who are you supporting with open conversations?

Looking for those open doors! door

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sharing openly (March Post 4)

  1. Lindy Lou says:

    I like the way you included questions to get the reader thinking. I’m glad you have a close teacher friend to keep the door open and encourage others.

  2. Julie says:

    Great post! So glad for teachers like you!

  3. margaretsmn says:

    You are so right that the high stakes and teacher evaluations have created a non-safe environment. Not to mention all the latest scares about school shootings. Our district has even mandated locked doors. I hate that! I wish all our doors could be open and stay open. That is how we build a community. Yes, this writing community is safe and I, for one, and happy to be here.

  4. Tara Smith says:

    This was hard to read…because this is what I live in my building – closed doors. I love these lines:
    “Teaching is a tough job and we need to stand along side each other as an on going learning community. We all need help and we all have things to share.” So very true.

  5. Judy C. says:

    Thanks for the thought provoking slice. I know how important it is to bounce ideas, concerns, problems, etc. off of someone else. We all need to have community (one or more) to help us find the right direction. Glad that you have a teacher friend you can confide in and hopefully this community of writers will also be a great support group.

  6. Jaana says:

    Closed doors are reality for me too. Testing and evaluating, merit pay, over and beyond. Teachers are competing no longer collaborating. So sad.That is why your quote is so timely! Perhaps that is one reason we are so drawn to this online community that opens up and lets us in.

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