Giving Up Before You Start

Over the summer, I chatted with a teacher I hired a few years back. We caught up and reflected on the first year of teaching (mine and the teachers’).  Good stuff, bad stuff, stuff loved, stuff hated, and most importantly, reflection and growth as a teacher thus far.  By far, the teacher was one of my best hires.

The teacher recently shared that when first hired he / she met for lunch over the summer with a group of seasoned teachers.  I hired this teacher because the knowledge and capability demonstrated; because of the passion  and drive; because of the positivity that beamed and what emulated from the teacher.  The lunch date was more like shark feeding; sniffing out fresh meat.  What was described was a solid attempt to suck the life out of the teacher.  They were completely dismissive of everything the teacher laid out.  For every idea that was brought up, it was immediately shot down with “that won’t work” or “that’s ridiculous! You have no idea what kind of kids are here.  This stuff will never work”. One seasoned teacher even said to the new teacher, “This place doesn’t change.  You can try all you want, but nothing will happen. Test scores will never change, because we change the tests to make it the same. It’s hopeless here.”

REALLY?

You have not only have the nerve to try to shatter a new teacher’s  dreams and work ethic, but you also admit that you’ve given up on your job? It’s shameful. It’s pathetic.  It’s awful.  So many thoughts, but here’s the one that keeps coming back into mind:

You start off every year, year after year, with the mindset that no matter what you do, your students won’t learn.  It’s like you’ve given up on your job before you even started!

Fast forward a bit – the teacher has done more in his / her career than those seasoned teachers did in a lifetime.  The scores for the standardized testing soared, while the naysayers dropped (one stayed the same). The lessons were powerful, dynamic, and exciting; the others stayed mediocre at best.  It was awesome to watch this person rise above the negativity and become an awesome educator.

To the new teachers out there – don’t get sucked in by negativity.  Don’t give up before you start.  Remember that your students believe in you, and that they will be thankful for your passion.

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