I truly believe that so many have lost their direction in education. Sometimes I feel like there is a dark cloud engulfing education and people are wandering around trying to find their way to the light. That feeling of uphill battles, constantly drudging through the mess, and sinking in a huge hole of quicksand. It wears on people, good and bad. The bad use this environment to feed their negative attitudes and give them more to complain about. They get some sick high from finding the bad in everything and making sure everyone hears about it. It's not enough that these people live in a "glass is half-empty world", they want to drag the rest of us down with them. And the culture of nothing is ever good enough that we are currently faced with in eduation just fuels that fire. But those people will always be negative regardless of their circumstances and it is sad that they influence our children and our society on a daily basis.
Those that are good, the ones that get up every morning knowing they have a positive purpose in life are the ones that are changed the most. A person can only get beat down so many times before they give up. Eventually with enough negativity even the most positive person will start to question why they are doing what they are doing. This should scare every single person who has a child in the school system or who cares about the welfare of our future society. When the good people go down, who will be left to fight the good fight? Who will be left to teach your kids? Those negative people won't be the ones that find new jobs. They will be the ones who stick around until they are too old to see the whiteboard. Why should they leave? These are probably the people that aren't doing their jobs anyway yet still get paid. The good ones are the ones that will find some other way to fulfill that need they have inside to do the right thing and make a difference somewhere. When all these people are gone we will all be in trouble.
But what are we doing to keep these good people around? There is a group of nay-sayers who are making it harder and harder for those of us who care to do our jobs. They look for the negative, they stir the pot constantly, and they ultimately forget the number one objective of education: At the end of the day have I done what I was supposed to do? Have I done what was right for kids?
Honestly I want to look at those educators who have forgotten what our sole purpose of becoming teachers is and ask them how they sleep at night. If every minute of your day is not spent focused on what is absolutely best for the kids you touch, then why in the world are you in education? Because at the end of the day that's what it's about. Someone told me recently that education is not about producing a product. I absolutely disagree. My product I produce is a productive citizen that will go out in this world and make a difference. Daily I work for that end-product. There are lots of things that go into devleoping that product but ultimately that is my goal. At the end of the day I go home knowing I have done something to set a kid in the right direction.
The most damage we can do to kids is allowing those who aren't focused on what is best for our kids into our education system. That's not to say we don't all have different ways of getting that end product, but there are too many people with personal agendas in education. Think about the change in our culture that would occur if every single person involved in education was absolutely devoted to what we produce at the end of the day. What would happen if every person in education honestly spent every minute making decisions to help kids. And don't be naive. We would love to believe that everyone in education does make the best decisions for kids, but that is simply not true.
The only place to start is within yourself. It's easy to get wrapped up in test scores and finances and who gets what and who doesn't and what athletics gets compared to what academics gets and so on and so on. We've all been there. To say you have never been there is lying to yourself. The challenge is navigating through all that mess that others create and knowing that at the end of the day you did everything you could to change the lives of those kids. Work within your circle of influence because if you do your job others will be affected by you. Then they will work within their circles to make a difference. Fight those monsters with positive actions and know that you can go home happy at the end of the day.