Educators can find support and hope in community with their fellow educators
I love the lights, and the music, the holiday parties. People come together and there is this shared sense of joy and happiness. It’s a bright and cheery time of year. But that may not be how it feels in the classroom. Students are restless, ready for the break. Add to that sugar and holiday distractions, and it can be downright difficult to teach this time of year. But the curriculum and the upcoming assessments don’t wait, and already tired teachers have to figure out how to pull through those last few lessons.
So in this season of hope, where is the hope for the over-worked educators?
Those of us that work with teachers feel this stress, too, and so going to a Saturday morning workshop instead of sleeping in was a tough decision. But I’m glad I went. The Yanaguana Council of Teachers, San Antonio’s TCTELA (Texas Council of Teachers of English) affiliate held their fall training – Finding Your Hope. Dr. Ann David from the University of the Incarnate Word led us through a discussion of finding hope in education – not just during this time of year – but always. She spoke of the push and pull of being part of the institution of school, celebrated the fact that we help more students than we are ever given credit for, and shared concrete ways to find hope. We talked about storytelling and the power of the narrative, the power of focusing on what we can actually control, and how to find your appreciation. We talked about aspirational thinking and empowering students to have a voice.
We also discussed community and its power. I see community as an incredible place to find hope. I found community that morning at the Doseum. It can be isolating to be the only person in your district who does what you do, so it is a gift to get to come together with like-minded people.
And teachers need community. It can be isolating in a classroom or being the only teacher with a certain prep. Teachers have limited time during the school day to be together, if any at all. But the fact is, teachers need each other. We in the education community need each other. We need each other not just to share the load of work, but to support and lift up each other. Let’s face it: no one else is going to do that for us.
So during this stressful time of year where we count down the days until the holiday break, take a moment to find hope in each other. Don’t skip the holiday luncheon, plan an after-school happy hour to decompress, pull your teacher friends together for some much-need self-care. We are stronger together than we are apart, and we bring hope to what can feel like a hopeless institution. If we can find our hope, we can bring that hope into our classrooms, and bring hope into the lives of our students.
Cheers to finding your hope this holiday season!