What’s Worth Fighting for in Your School?

My friend Julie Lindsay has a great post worth reading called “What's Worth Fighting for in Your School?

I think that any time a teacher is working towards change, there is that head in the hands moment when one closes their eyes and weighs the struggle versus the opportunity to decide if it is worth it to get back up and continue the fight for change.

How will you get up again?
Like a boxer who is fighting and beaten up and at the bell falls into their corner onto a chair to be doctored up and fight again.

And as I contemplate this metaphor, I think that whether one continues to go on depends a lot on who they go to between rounds.

Do you have a mentor? Do you have someone to encourage you and help you see perspective? Do you have someone to encourage you and counterbalance the licks that you're taking as you work towards change?

Also, you have to ask yourself… are you training well in your off time? Are you equipped?

These are things I ask myself often when I'm bone tired (as I am today.) Is it worth it?

When the answer becomes “no” for too long a period of time it is time to retire, get a new profession or swap schools.

We are inundated with teachers sitting complacently at their desks awaiting retirement while the students run slipshod all over the classroom. In fact, some super activist groups are now looking to pay “bad” teachers to retire. (An effort, which I believe, won't help a thing and is demeaning to teachers!)

When it is not worth the fight to get papers graded on time or hold down your classroom or spend extra time with a student is struggling… when it is not worth the time to learn all of their names and know something personal about them. When it is not worth the fight to care and sometimes fight a student's own desire to remain uneducated… it is time to stop!

But there are a lot of us who pick up our banner and fight this fight every day! We have decided it is worth it. I believe heartily that the answer for me is “Yes!”

This is why I believe that teaching is the most noble calling on earth! We work hard and fight to do what is right when we know that no one will notice. We love our students knowing that sometimes it means we write out a discipline form and sometimes it means we tear it up.

We work hard and do extra things to inspire our students. We work to become excited about our subject, sucking down caffeine when we know that we are going to have to talk a bit in class and need to be extra exciting!

We fight for the right thing… for the underdog…to promote a desire for excellence.

This is the teacher I celebrate and applaud and despite what people think… it is more teachers that most people realize.

Honestly, parents would never be happy until every child in the world is at the 100th percentile and top of their class. And if you understand percentiles and class rank, you'll know that that is a mathematical impossibility.

So, we are faced with an impossibility of EVER pleasing most people and so most of us (of the faith) work for an audience of ONE.

Understand the nobility of educating
The time has changed here in Georgia USA and I'm down right crabby. I'm fussy and it is the end of the grading period.

So, I'm writing this to myself as much as to you to tell you that TEACHING IS THE GREATEST PROFESSION ON THE PLANET. (As long as you're called to teach and if not, then it is HELL!)

Few things can truly be “yours” but your classroom is one of them. What happens there or doesn't happen there is entirely up to you.

You can make it a safe place where you do the right thing (even when unpopular) and leave a mark for years to come.

I'm here to inspire. I'm here to do more. I'm here to be more. I'm here because I love it. I'm here because I want to be.

I am a teacher and I'm proud of it!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Mary Ann March 11, 2008 - 9:14 pm

You know what I wish? I wish that somehow we could find a way to recognize the teachers that ask that question, say no, and actually move on in some way. Teachers who recognize that burnout has cost them effectiveness (whether within the profession or in the school) and move on before it becomes obvious to the rest of the staff, their students and the community. That it doesn’t seem like such a failure. Of course I am bringing all kinds of personal baggage to this, but I am moving on from my site and I feel guilty, like I failed because the answer isn’t yes anymore.
But I am with you that I wish more teachers truly asked and answered that question and acted on the answer.

Frank's Blog March 11, 2008 - 10:04 pm

Give your bones a rest. Lots more work to do. Great inspirational post for personal reflection, sharing, empathy and recharging. We are not alone.

Thanks, Frank

loonyhiker March 11, 2008 - 10:33 pm

Great post! My answer was yes but I still retired. I reached a point in my career where I think I can fight more effectively since I retired. I am not working at any school so now I have the freedom to speak up honestly about directions I feel we should be going. (Luckily, I also have time to also do research on strategies and technology that I did not have while teaching.)

Robin Ellis March 11, 2008 - 11:46 pm

Vicki I agree with you we all need someone to go to between rounds. We do have to be well prepared to fight for what we feel is best for students even if others are content to do things the same way they have always done them, to teach the way they were taught. I am here to stretch the thinking of others even if they don’t want to walk the same road. I am here to support those teachers who do feel they can make a difference when they deviate from the norm who make the effort to inspire and challenge their students. Thanks for the post, it is a great one.

Luke March 11, 2008 - 9:04 pm

You might enjoy this post from a couple of years ago in my blog.


Luke March 12, 2008 - 3:26 am

Alright, let’s try this again with a shortened link!


James Christensen March 12, 2008 - 6:21 pm

Every change cycle goes through the “trough of chaos” before it becomes part of the system. Things get harder before they get easier.

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