There is a silent stress inside teachers, no matter how long you’ve been teaching. I know you’ve felt it, and I know you’ve even seen it. There are many times you feel alone. Things are starting to go wrong in your classroom, and you desperately try everything to fix it. You are looking at your math lesson for the day and you can’t even begin to understand the best way to teach it. Things go so horribly wrong that it brings you to tears and you feel stupid, embarrassed and frustrated. I saw it today in a new teacher’s eyes and it broke my heart.
I wonder why it is this way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to problem solve and figure out things on our own. But so often I notice teachers struggle with things until it gets so bad that they finally reach out for help, and feel embarrassment and apologetic in the process. Why is it so shameful to ask for help?
With the demands on us as professionals in this day and age, we can no longer do it alone. Collaboration among teachers, teammates and support staff needs to become embedded so deeply that it is okay for anyone to seek help. We should go about our day more slowly, and a bit more kindly to ask others what they need. Instead of cutting out that last little laminated magnet star to put up on your locker to make it look cute, ask the new teacher next door if they are ready for their math workshop set up.
Let’s promote a culture of asking and receiving in our schools. Our students deserve it.