Friday, March 24, 2017

Control What You Can. Manage What You Can't

A lot of what you experience as a teacher is out of your control. You cannot change the administration. You can't change the policies. You can't pick your students, or your curriculum, or the time you are in the building.

If you want to own what you do, you've got to own your classroom. I finally learned that after I had been teaching for a few years. This, of course, doesn't mean that we don't TRY to change anything else. I have been known for investing my my building, seeking out leadership opportunities, and being a present force for positive change on a large scale every day. But my classroom has always been my number one priority. And the only change I could control is what happens there.

I have worked with and mentored many teachers. No matter how many warnings I give about classroom management, no matter how I model for them, teachers always have the same issues. And it makes their lives harder. Daily I am met with defensiveness and hostility when I give advice about classroom management. And I totally get it.

As a first year teacher I was awful. My year was awful. Seriously. It was perhaps the hardest year of my life. I killed myself every day because I kept expecting my students to change. I was counting on administrators to punish my students into compliance.  After affirming that I wasn't going to quit (I really considered it after year one), I vowed to never allow my classes to be like that again.

That summer I studied every resource I could find about management. I picked the brain of any teacher I could find. I scoured the internet looking for ideas. This mindset created something inside of me that "got it". If I could manage and lead this group of diverse people in my room every day, everything else would be easy. My second year wasn't perfect, but I was on my way. Since then I have had minimal discipline problems. I work with some tough kids. They all learn. They didn't need to change. I did.

Now I walk through classrooms as a mentor and I see again and again nearly EVERY classroom problem attributed to poor classroom management. Even teachers I see that have been in classrooms for twenty years struggle with it. They make the same mistakes over and over again. They make their lives and their student's lives miserable. They go home exhausted. They hate their jobs. They are hoping that kids will change.

No matter my test scores, no matter the positive feedback I get from teachers and administrators, no matter the fact that kids literally sing about how much they love being in my class, most teachers still don't believe me. If you believe me, and know it's a problem, and want to learn more, let's keep going.

Set the Tone Early

Everything--and I mean EVERYTHING--you do during the first week of school sets up the next 10 months. You must plan for this week accordingly. I recommend that you have all your processes and procedures built into your week one lessons. You need it down in your brain before students walk in. Before the first day you need to figure out how you want your classroom to operate. Every detail. Then, make sure students are doing it right. Some things will take practice. On day one if the group comes into your class like a herd of wildebeest, they need a do over. No judgement. Just another opportunity with some positive feedback about how it's supposed to be done.

I DO NOT mean that you spend hours practicing walking across the room, using pencil sharpeners, etc. What I am saying is that from day one you must integrate feedback of student expectations in your classroom into every event. Lay it on thick. Lots of noticing language. Lots of praise.

"Wow, Johnny, I love how you put the scissors back without being asked! Thanks!"
"Oh my goodness Sally, you were walking so quietly back to your seat I thought you were a ghost!"

You'll also find the more you do this, the more habit you create for positive noticing and feedback. You'll naturally start doing this kind of thing the rest of the school year. This is key

Consistency

Everything you do from this point on must be in line with what you set up your first week. Many teachers start off strong, but then become more lenient, to the point of dismissing their initial plan and expectations completely. You must avoid this. DO NOT start being nice and relaxing on your rules for any reason. I tell my students it doesn't matter if it's day 1 or day 180, you break a rule, we'll be having a chat.

Positive Classroom Culture

Again, this starts on day one. I am a big believer in PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support). Look it up. Anyone who has seen me work with students would probably say that 95% of my interaction with students is positive. I notice what they are doing right constantly. This of course doesn't mean I won't call out a student or deal with a classroom issue, but I always frame the feedback with positive language. This is not easy and requires practice and patience, especially when the kid that really knows how to push your buttons is leaning back in his chair with scissors in his mouth for the 4th time this week.

Some examples:

"Wow, I love how Sally entered the room and started working right away. Well done!"
"OMG you guys entered our classroom so quietly. Thank you for making it easy to get started today!"
"Johnny, I can tell you are working really hard on this project today. Thanks for the effort."

Some days it's corny. Some days you are off and you just aren't feeling it. But every day this is required. Even if you don't put your heart and soul into every positive comment, it's important to stay consistent so the culture of your classroom emphasizes positivity and willful compliance.

Some day after your lessons are over, reflect on your interaction with students. Is your language mostly positive or negative? Does the way you talk to students make you feel good? Does your language sometimes deepen your frustration?

Set a goal. Say 5 positive things to your class tomorrow. Then ask yourself the same questions. See how it's different.

Mutual Respect

I only have a few major rules in my classes. With each class I think of the major rules that will promote the most positive learning environment for that group of kids. My number one rule is of course the Golden Rule, and that generally takes care of everything when your class runs on respect.

On day one I will say something like this:

"In life, you're never going to like everyone you work with. You're never going to like every teacher. Some of you might not end up liking me. But, we should respect each other anyway. We're going to have good days and bad days, but those days are always going to be spent together. We all must respect each other to make this work."

I'll be honest, students don't ALWAYS like me. But this mindset stops students from acting out simply due to that fact. I wish every student loved me, but that's unrealistic. But we can still respect each other. And usually, even if you don't like someone, if you treat them with respect, you end up becoming friends whether you like it or not.

Relationships with Parents

Please stop seeing parents as enemies. I see teachers mess this up all the time. People call me weak, but I will always work to satisfy a parent and do what they need unless it's completely unreasonable.

If parents like you, their kids will probably like you. If they like you, they will most likely come to you first with concerns before running to administration. If parents like you, they will overlook your simple mistakes. If parents don't like you, all these situations become huge dumpster fires.

So pick your battles. If a parent emails me and asks for an extension on an assignment for junior, I'll give it to them. Why create an enemy and manufacture drama to save two days on an assignment? There are always going to be requests -- some are going to be unreasonable. Be able to live with your choice AND the consequences of the choice you make.

Make sure your first interaction with parents is positive. DO NOT wait until parent teacher conferences to speak to a parent for the first time. Parents should be able to pick out their teachers in a crowd within the first month of school. Get creative with how you manage this. Have a family night in your class. Invite guest readers or presenters. I also call at least one parent every day before I go home just to say something nice about their kid. Small gestures like that can go a long way. Even if you have to leave a voicemail.

Here's an example interaction with a parent. Totally corny, but I don't care:

"I love the relationships I form with students and parents. If I am ever having any issues or concerns with your student, you'll be the first to know. I truly thank you for your support at home and please understand that involved parents like you truly make the difference with our kids. Thank you so much for your time."

I have conversations like this DAILY. If you invest in parents early and their kids know their parents trust you implicitly, that is going to go a long way with some of your chronic behavior issues. Of course, I still have issues with parents -- what I am saying is that by being proactive and engaging parents positively early and often, you can ensure that 99% of your interactions are positive.

Don't be a Dictator

Rules are important. Unfortunately I see teachers sometimes put rules before the students they are supposed to teach. We all must do the things our administration tells us to do, we have no choice on this. But on the stuff we can control, we really need to pick our battles wisely.

An example: You have a no food rule. But Tommy brought in a cookie today. He has started eating it, but he is also working intently. He's not making a mess. He is not distracted. It's the first time he's done this.

My response: "Hey man, I noticed you brought a cookie today. You know we have a no food rule, but since it's not a huge problem right now, I'm going to let you finish your cookie. I appreciate that you're working and not making a mess. But, in the future please remember our no food rule."

I have also seen teachers lose their minds over something like this. Exploding and blowing up the kid and in the process derailing the entire learning environment for the rest of the class. It just makes no sense. You've also ruined that kid's day and probably made yourself a lot angrier than you really need to be about the situation.  Two things matter when dealing with a classroom discipline problem; how you frame your language and which battles are worth fighting.

Chances are that if you address situations positively and and respectfully, they will work out. I see teachers that yell constantly and cause scenes about small issues regularly. These teachers are feared. If that's just your style, fine. I'd rather have kids that don't fear me and I'd rather not have a heart attack before I'm 40.

Save your mean voice for when you need it. I rarely yell, but when I do, my students l-i-s-t-e-n.

Off Days

Even the best students will have bad days. Pick and choose how you handle these moments.

Let's say one of your students just broke up with their boyfriend and they are super depressed about it. Should I blow them up about taking notes? I think I'd rather pull them aside and personalize my approach for dealing with this.

"Normally you're on task, but I can tell something is wrong. Today I'll let this slide, but could you maybe write me a letter about how you're feeling so I can understand? If you can't do that, I'm going to need you to get on the notes. Why don't you go get a drink and come back when you've made a decision about how the rest of class is going to go?"

Some students will write the letter. Some will take notes. Either way, I can live with it. The point is, I worked with them to overcome the problem. It didn't need to be a big deal. A lot of the behavior problems we deal with are due to something happening outside of your classroom. Don't try to fix something you can't control through force. Try and manage it.

Breaks/Rewards

Build in some breaks and rewards. Some people are 100% against this and think kids need to invest and want to be successful for themselves. I agree, but I think there's space for both mindsets. Hear me out.

If my students are super hyper and getting out of control, I'll flip the lights off and tell them to "get bored" for a minute or two. Shut off your brain. I swear this works. And it prevents huge problems that I can see coming pretty clearly. When things are calm, we can start again.

Create opportunity for transition and movement. Most kids can't sit and get for more than 15 minutes. Unless you are the worlds most fantastic and engaging speaker, you are going to need to give kids a break. I do simple things like having students get up and touch the backs of twenty chairs and then sit back down. Or have them get up and shake hands with five people before returning to their seats. Not every student needs or takes advantage of these breaks, but many kids absolutely need this.

Some teachers are opposed to the idea of rewards on principle. I'm not! Here's what I do:

  • Thank you notes, especially for the "cool kids" that hate when you shout out how awesome they are in front of class
  • Classroom Incentives -- I've always done classroom points that I award for positive behavior I see. We might earn a game day, pizza party, ice cream -- I usually let the kids pick.
  • Random Treats - nothing will get your kids pumped like a box of donuts in the morning. "You guys have been working so hard, I thought I'd pick up a treat for our class. Thank you so much, guys!"
  • Student Awards - Stuff like Student of the Month/Character Traits/Superlatives. Administration and grade level does a lot of honoring, but you can do the same thing in your class. Find a nice certificate template online and print some awards. Call home with the kid and brag to their parent. This goes a long way.
  • Get creative. Free homework pass, teacher chair pass, 20 minutes extra reading -- find something your learners are about and use it.
I know some of these things cost money. Obviously I don't do this all the time, but a small investment can go a long way. Some of you lucky folks out there might be able to get your school to help with this as well. However it comes, the investment is always worth it.

Controlled Chaos

Sometimes your classroom is going to be out of control. It'll be loud. It'll go off topic. Kids will mess around. When this happens, do you have a way to bring them back to earth? No matter the grade level, every teacher needs a quiet signal to get your kids attention. Have one. I don't care what it is. "Give me 5", "If You Can Hear Me...",etc... 

No matter how messy your class gets, if you can bring them back, you'll always have control.

I tried this but......

So you say you're doing this and it still doesn't work. Your class is still out of control. You're still having problems with students. Your next step is to make a plan with administration and parents. This means that you have done every intervention (calling home, guidance, conference, etc.) and this student has not changed. 

This means there's more to the story. You need to completely understand the rules and procedures in your school and how situations like this are addressed. If I have done everything I can for a student, and it still isn't working, then it becomes an administrative issue.

That's It

No matter how many times I work with teachers, they seem to choose the hard way. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I see teachers use the same strategy with a difficult student, even if it is not working. If it is not working, stop doing it!

Get on the pathway to new management. As the end of the year closes, what in your class needs to change? Did you have processes and procedures this year? Were you consistent? What worked and what did not? Do you truly have classroom management? Reflect on your practice. Take what is good about who you are and bring it into your teaching. Change what doesn't work. Control what you can. Manage what you can't. And don't be afraid of change.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stop the Assembly Line

The title of this post refers to a conversation I recently had with a new teacher and his disappointment that his mentor teacher did not "gift" him his lesson plans upon completion of his clinical teaching practice.

"But another guy in my class had his mentor teacher give him 40 gigs of lesson materials! 40 GB!"

That's a really great gesture. And I totally get wanting to set up a new teacher with that kind of support to make them successful. But that's so bad for students. And the teacher. It's bad for our profession.

Here's why:

1. You have no clue what grade level you will be teaching. Let's say you are certified 6-12 as a social studies teacher (most states give their certifications in this way). That means that there are a total of 7 grade levels that you could potentially be teaching. Since your mentor gave you buckets of lessons, you didn't prepare for your new gig adequately. Now it's the first day of school and your room looks great, but you have no idea what you are teaching!

2. You have no clue what classes you will be teaching. Let's use social studies again -- You might be teaching US history, Geography, and Civics. What if you are teaching world history? What about another elective like psychology, law, sociology, philosophy, comparative government, religion, etc.? This isn't unique. Your certification entitles you to teach in that content, but within our content we see increasing diversity year by year in course offerings. This doesn't even scratch the surface of interventions or remedial classes or units you might get thrown into.

3. You have no idea what the academic level of your students will be. Let's say your friend with the 40 GB of lessons student taught an AP class at a suburban high school. Those lessons will be basically worthless if he/she is teaching a lower level class in a Title I school. Lessons should be created to match the needs of the students. There is no magic lesson plan that could be given to any student.

4. You have no idea of the cultural background of your future students. A lesson created for a wealthy, majority white suburb will crash and burn in a lower income, majority-minority school. As I said above, there is no magic lesson that can be given to every single student. The magic comes from you building relationships with students, getting to know about them and their culture, and then shaping your lessons to match their academic and cultural background.

So stop the assembly line. There's a feeling among some teachers that once you teach for a couple of years, you have done all the prep work for the entirety of your career. That you can take any student that comes into your classroom and slap your content on them as if they rode through your room on a conveyor belt. And then your job is done.

This in practice is terrible for students, but it's also poison for a teacher's mindset. If you truly believe that you can get to a place in your education career where you no longer have to design learning experiences based on the unique qualities of the learners in your classroom, you are mistaken.

We all have to be reflective and mindful of our students and our relationships with them. We must value professional development and seek to make our practice in the classroom better every day. We must be connected and collaborative with colleagues in ways that challenge us and support us to be better, but don't simply provide with a "magic pill" to fix our teachers.

If you want to be proactive and prepared for your first years, your best bet of finding a stash of lessons will be when you get hired at your first position. Ask your department head and the other members of your content team for access to their lessons (or in most cases, Google Drive folder). I'm sure they'll be more than willing to share. However, you will still have to modify their lessons to reflect your teaching philosophy and your students background. What if the lessons you get are all lecture-based and you like to incorporate student movement or Socratic seminars? What if the lessons you get are for AP but you're teaching on level? What if you like to have students write using a certain strategy or format but the lessons you were given are the complete opposite? For me, I'd rather just put in the extra time to make the lessons (or piece them together from other lessons I find) than use someone else's lessons.

When it all boils down to it, like it nor not, the best lessons are the ones that start between your ears. Now ditch that assembly line and become the artisan your students deserve.

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Easy for You

Dave Burgess has a great line about the six most insulting words you can hear from a colleague, 

"It's easy for you, you're creative." 

The implications of statements like these, when made by teachers, are serious. First of all, nothing about this is easy. Someone like me that has a lot of passion and energy for what I do, I deal with it daily. There's a suggestion that, for some reason, there are magical fairy teachers out there that don't have to work as hard because they have some sort of natural gift. They were born with the lesson planning gene.  I hear it all the time. Conversations usually start like this:

"How do you manage?"

"When do you sleep?"

"When do you see your family?"

Sure these statements are usually made in jest, and are designed to be complimentary. They make me feel like I am one of the teachers in those crummy clipart pictures, arms folded as I look knowingly at the camera. But when I tell teachers that my personal life is fine, that I get eight hours of sleep (most nights) and that I wrestle with my kids on the living room floor every night, I get the same response.

"Well, I don't have time for that."

I think it goes without saying that no one gets better at anything without some sort of persistent effort. Some sort of personal sacrifice. But in education we are always trying to figure out how we can get away without doing that. Getting maximum output without changing the way we do anything. Newsflash -- you can't.

At some point you have to challenge yourself. Look in the mirror and make a commitment to try something new, get uncomfortable, push the envelope in some way.

I think about the trajectory my career has taken. I began my career as a very mediocre and uninspiring elementary teacher. I apologize to the kids in my classes those first few years. I was worried about myself most of the time -- worried about it being easy. Four years later I quit teaching and took a job working in student affairs at a local college.

After living in the non-teaching world for a year and seeing the soul-sucking nature of not enriching the lives of students every day, I decided to challenge myself. I took a job in a new district, teaching something new. I made a commitment to be outspoken and be a leader. To challenge myself as I challenged my students. Something clicked.

I pushed further. Took on leadership roles. Started coaching. Then I challenged myself to advance my own education with a masters degree. I became invested in my job and I became a teacher leader. And I reached every goal I set for myself.

I continued to challenge myself -- get certifications, present at conferences, mentor other teachers. Things kind of started to snowball. That's gotten me where I am today. The thing is, it's never been easy. It's been work the whole time. Hard work. And I have never loved my job more.

There's no substitute for being good, and there's no way to be good at what you do without tremendous amount of effort. Yet, knowing this, and knowing what it takes for a teacher to move from mediocre to good to great, we still have teachers that say crazy things like...."It's easy for you."

Really, it's not. But even if it is, that's only because it was hard for a long time.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

They don't know what they don't know


Last night I gave a talk to parents about social media. I was asked to briefly discuss the "big ones", Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat -- just discuss how they work and what students do on them.

As I worked my way through the different apps, I was a bit surprised about the questions being asked. The apparent lack of understanding of basic technology kids take for granted. Their parents don't seem to get it. Your kids are on social media and, very often, they are trying to deceive you.

This post isn't to castigate parents for being out of the loop. I understand that. It's hard to be informed on everything with so much going on online. By the time you track your kid down on Facebook, they've moved on to Instagram. Heck, some of the questions got me Googling at the end of the session and I discovered some new apps and sites I didn't even know about...but that's another blog post.

This is just a reminder for me and others who understand kids and tech--we have to shine a light on this stuff. We need to commit to building trust with parents and give them good information about what kids are doing. We need to stay informed. We have a responsibility to understand the digital world and inform parents and students of the costs and risks associated with irresponsible technology use.

Responsiveness is key, both in understanding the landscape, and knowing how the kids we are in charge of are navigating it. 


Monday, February 20, 2017

Beta Culture EDU


There's a new epidemic invading our software and devices -- maybe you have noticed it. You just downloaded an app suddenly it crashes. Maybe your phone restarts at odd times. Your buggy video game keeps lagging. These sometimes annoying, sometimes odd, sometimes infuriating moments are signals to an increasingly prevalent beta culture.

Strange term, I know. For those that aren't familiar, beta culture is a trend where products that typically spend weeks or months in testing are finding their way to your fingertips much more quickly. It used to be that testing cycles ruled release dates. Nothing made it out until it was perfect--until enough data had been collected to ensure that test groups were satisfied with a product. Now, many companies are willing to put an imperfect product in your hands knowingly, realizing that you won't mind. In fact, you have become the beta tester. You are providing feedback directly about the product you have invested in, hoping that it will improve.

When we think about the implications this has for our culture--and education by extension--this is actually a pretty interesting mindset shift. We have gone from expecting perfection and refusing anything less, to accepting an interesting idea on its merit. And wanting more enough that we are willing to be part of the growth future of the product.

Another interesting implication of this shift is the acknowledgment of the audience as the barometer for success. Sometimes our vision for a product isn't even what people want -- maybe they like a feature or an interface -- something that isn't even essential to the original idea.

I like this graphic from Demetri Martin that shows what success looks like - it's an involved journey that takes you many places, not a straight shot from point A to point B.


Beta culture actually suggests another wrinkle to this graphic. That we recognize it's a process. We accept something isn't perfect, and that's okay. We still put our idea out for the world to see, and use the feedback to create something people really love.


How can we change assessment or our vision of academic success to reflect this cultural shift? How can we create feedback models that will inform development of ideas in ways that best meet the needs of our audience?

I don't know all the answers to those questions, but I think this is something we should definitely consider as we look to the future. When we emphasize things like growth mindset, entrepreneurial spirit, and design thinking, we must concede that beta culture is naturally a part of that. How can we use it?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sweet Ideas for Valentine's Day Tech

Something we often take for granted is how much kids care about holidays. While most folks probably stopped caring about things like Valentine's Day years ago -- your students still think it's a big deal! Why would you throw this engagement opportunity away??? Instead, let's use it to catch our students' attention and trick them into learning a few things while we're at it! Read on to check out four "sweet ideas" for integrating tech this Valentine's Day.

1. Culture Reports

Something most holidays are useful for is a good old fashioned research project. You might be surprised to find that while most of the world celebrates Valentine's Day in some way, many cultures do it in different ways and for different reasons. Have your students check out some articles and then report back to the class how different cultures clash on their celebration of the day. Here are some articles I have used in the past:
There are tons more articles like this on the net. Have students do a share out on something like Padlet, have them compare and contrast with a mind map on Coggle, or have them create a screencast where they discuss as a news report or podcast. 

2. Historical/Literary Reenactments

You know, where might not be a more appropriate or acceptable time to discuss the great love stories that have occurred throughout time than on Valentine's Day. I mean, can you considered how you might reimagine the love story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra? Pop 'em into Blabberize and have your students relate the historical love of the tortured couple in their own words. 

Want to make it literary? You can do the same thing with Romeo and Juliet, Katherine and Heathcliff, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy -- I mean there are tons of directions you can go with this one.

Or just have students come up with their own love stories. The written expression of love isn't for everyone, but if that's what a kid wants to write, let them script out the love story and design their own characters. Even more creative!

You can even get the little ones involved with ABCYa's Talkify app. Talking pictures have never been so fun!

3. eCard Publishing

Another direction you might go is with some traditional writing and composition projects. Poetry is an easy route here. Read Write Think has a nice themed poem designer for Valentine's Day. It structures the prewriting and the drafting right in the app -- it would work for primary on up for most grades, although it might seem juvenile for older learners. 

Festisite is another similar tool that provides the structure while the student provides the words. The heart template will serve the needs of most for a Valentine's Day creation. A lot of fun for students of all ages.

Of course, if you want to make the creation a bit more authentic, you might have students create their own ecards rather than using these auto designing publishers. Piccollage is a way for students to use their own pictures to create ecards. Canva is a great desktop publishing tool on the web where students will have a number of tools at their disposal to create very slick, professional looking cards, depending on the time and effort they want to put into it. Another option would be a create a Google Slides template for students to copy and edit to their own liking. Saving a slide as a PDF is just another way of publishing your own ecard.

4. Video Projects

Video is always my go to for creation tasks -- if we can make a project that ends with a video, that's usually pretty fun and engaging for our students. Adobe Spark Videos are quick, easy, and allow for pretty simple customizations. A great way to create a video card for students if they want to really impress their friends or family. 

video

Sorry for the hacky, schmaltzy video -- quick and easy 😁.

Valentine's Day clearly gives you a lot of options for student creation tasks. Depending on what you want to do with it, there is a great variety of what your students can end up with. When it comes down to it, as long as you are giving your students a chance to create something and show it to the world, you can't go wrong.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Just getting this off my chest

We are not defeated.

When I was young I was an awful student. I would have told you that no one cares about education or educators. That days like today don't matter, and that life will go on in schools regardless of what our elected officials have decided is best for us. And while in the intervening years I have thanked God that I was given the opportunities public school provides, it has never been politicians, presidents, or education secretaries that enriched my formative educational experience. That doesn’t change today.
And now...I still kind of think the same thing. This day doesn’t matter. Of course it is an incredible setback for students--the glaring reality that the leaders of their country don’t care about the quality of their education, their status as a disabled individual, or their right to a free and appropriate education regardless of where they live or the amount of money in their bank account. It’s really just another setback in a series of setbacks for a field and a part of our culture that our government has never done right by. Why does this change today?
This day doesn’t matter because none of the decision makers have ever truly cared about doing the right thing by students or the dedicated individuals that run our schools. It has always been teachers -- since the beginning of educated time it has always been teachers who have made schools great. The ones that show up when it’s dark and head home as the sun sets. Those that stay up until midnight planning the next day’s lesson because they have 30 kids they love coming in tomorrow and they know failure isn’t an option for a single one of them. Those that deplete their own bank accounts so the kids walking through their classroom door can have authentic, amazing learning experiences that prepare them for whatever they decide comes next.
If you have invested your sense of value in the public service of education to what your government has promised you, they failed you decades ago. Betsy DeVos does not ruin public education. Betsy DeVos affirms that our government doesn’t care about your kids, your students, or the quality of education in general. You want to cry and moan and complain about how the government doesn’t care about us because of some politician telling us what to do -- educators gave up on that trope years ago.
This day doesn’t matter because this day is like every other day to a teacher -- you are going to show up to work to do a job that is impossible, to follow the rules made by people that don’t care about or understand what you do, and you are going to absolutely do whatever it takes to make the lives of your students better regardless.
You want to complain about the hypocrisy of our government, how our elected officials are bought and paid for, about how a demagogue is turning the people of this country against each other more day by day. Go ahead. You are not wrong about those things. But if you think for a second public schools fail because of Betsy DeVos? Rest your pretty little head--teachers aren’t going to allow that to happen. Kids are still gonna need us tomorrow. And we are going to show up and do it like we've always done.