The Faculty Meeting: a meditation on teacher choice

image CC via
image CC via

I attended a faculty meeting today and am glad I went. I had a choice. With a move to a part-time contract, my attendance is welcomed but not a hard and fast requirement at this stage. So I made a decision. I decided…

  • …in favor of seeing and hearing my division colleagues.
  • …in favor of being on an equal information par with my colleagues.
  • …in favor of recognizing the efforts of individuals and teams committed to making school the best possible experience for kids and adults.
  • …in favor of participating in a professional community rich in knowledge, enthusiasm, care and humor.
  • …in favor of showing my colleagues that I value them and our work together.

The situation reminded me of the choices we have as educators on a daily basis. The question I had to ask myself in deciding to attend the meeting or not was: How do I want to show up this year?

And when I thought about it in those terms, I realized that although my hours are fewer, the love and concern for my students, colleagues and our school is not less. In many ways, my capacity to care and invest in the whole enterprise appears to be greater. I have deeper reserves to draw on when the going gets tough. This year I may find myself in a position to support and uplift others in ways I could not have done before. That thought fills me with gratitude and energy.

The questions I want to pursue this year are many. Most likely too many for a single school year. Having the benefit of time every day to step back from my teaching, I want to think more deeply about the language I use with kids; how I frame my lessons in terms of power – when do my students have power and how do I share power with them? I want to examine the labels I and others place on students, peers and parents. Whose interests do we serve in referring to a “difficult” parent or “really smart” kid? How do those labels influence my perception and expectations and ultimately, my behavior?

There is no guarantee that I will succeed in pulling back the curtain on my bevy of biases and mental models and actually recognize unhelpful patterns, but the choice to try and try and try again is mine. Asking myself: “How do I want to show up this year, this week, this lesson?” will become my tool of choice in the effort.

Because I can, I will choose.

2 thoughts on “The Faculty Meeting: a meditation on teacher choice

  1. I dig this post on a number of levels. As someone who recently moved from full to part time, I have found myself making similar observations about my participation in no longer mandated events. It has reminded me that even before when attendance wasn’t a choice how I showed up & why I showed up was my choice. That realization alone has been of extreme value to me.

    And then, you go even further and explore a topic near and dear to my heart: how we speak about each other & our work. I’m finding that it goes beyond just labels and resonates in our metaphors as well. I wrote a piece on why we need to be conscious and critical of our metaphors as they have more power than we often give them credit. As you pointed out with regards to labels, metaphors too effect perceptions of self and actions.They reflect some of our embedded biases and give us insight into our priorities and belief systems.

    As always, thanks for sharing and thanks for being you!

    1. Thank you, Kris. You have given me some more to chew on. Metaphors are powerful in their effect. They create the stories in which we often anchor our expectations. Oh boy! it’s going to be a year to remember. Glad to know you’ll be along for the ride!

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