Teachers: It’s time to QUIT! Here’s my Best Advice for “Old” Teachers

Teachers: It's time to quit. Here are 5 things teachers should quit doing and LOVE their job. Cathy Collier

Yep, Quit. One of my favorite quotes about teaching is: “If you can walk away tomorrow, then walk away today.” Dr. Steve Perry said this at an International Literacy Association conference several years ago and I couldn’t agree more. No one deserves a teacher who doesn’t want to be in the classroom…BUT that isn’t what the post is about. This post is about getting those negative thoughts out of your teaching.

Quit Digging Your Heels In

Teachers: It's time to quit. Here are 5 things teachers should quit doing and LOVE their job.

I know it seems everything in education and fashion comes back around eventually, but let’s not count on it. There is so much amazing research on how children learn and how we should teach…so digging your heels in to the teaching styles of 1980 isn’t the best strategy for teaching children to be world ready in 2017.

Organizations like the International Literacy Association is a great place to learn about the latest research in education. The days of whole group reading should be retired. Meeting students where they are can move them forward quicker and with better progress.

Breathe deep and PURGE! Get rid of those materials from the 80’s just like you need to get rid of your walkman or parachute pants.

Quit Badmouthing our Profession

I am so frustrated with teachers talking bad about teaching. UGH! (Once again, I’ll refer to Dr. Perry.) “Teaching isn’t what it used to be.” You are right…let’s believe it’s better.

I’ve told you before my son is a teacher. He just finished his first year of teaching and I couldn’t be prouder. I have actually had several people say, “Didn’t you try and talk him out of it?” NO! I didn’t. I was thrilled he wanted to be a teacher. Children deserve teachers who want to be there…they do not deserve the teacher who is “putting in time.”

I did a workshop for new teachers at my son’s college a year or so ago talking about what to expect in teaching. One of my best pieces of advice was to stay away from the M.G.O.T. (mean, grouchy old teacher). I hate to see M.G.O.T.s talking badly about teaching to new teachers. We need new teachers with new ideas and new attitudes and we need to embrace them.

Here’s a secret: the new teachers might know more about updated educational best practices than you do. Listen to them.

Quit Thinking You Aren’t Appreciated

Teachers: It's time to QUIT! Here's my Best Advice for "Old" Teachers

You are. You are appreciated by the ones that matter…the students. You may be the only thing they have going right for them, so make the most of it.

Determine the big picture outcomes you want. You want them to know how to read, write, add, subtract, observe and experiment about our world, and become good citizens of the world. I know there is more, but they also need to be loved and nurtured and taught, retaught, and taught again…that’s our job…and when they get it, it’s powerful.

I know the pay is not optimal. I know we take work home and eat, live, and breathe “lesson plans.” But we are appreciated by students and families. What we are doing is not short of amazing. Own it.

Quit Making a List of All You Do

It’s a lot. I know. A colleague in another school decided to make a list of all the things we are “required” to do each day and give it to her administration.

It was a long list…lesson plans in content areas, guided reading plans, intervention plans, teacher assistant plans, read aloud plans, maintain the classroom, give tests, analyze tests, record scores, take students to lunch, take students to resource, take students to recess, morning duty, bus duty, make copies, and more, more, more.

Guess what, the administration agreed. Yep, that’s the job. It’s what we do. If you asked any profession to make a list of their duties, it would be just as long with their profession-specific details. I’m pretty sure the list is stressing you out and it will all get done, so let’s stop making a list.

“My plate is too full.” I know…so let’s look at that plate. We have to be strategic about what we put on the plate. Everything must be “plate worthy” and all things aren’t. Take new directives and replace something on the plate? Be honest and make the list and the plate work for you.

Quit Thinking You Aren’t a Student

Everyone in every profession should grow. Doctors don’t provide medical advice based on thirty years ago. If they do, leave. Lawyers have new laws to decided all the time. Pharmacists have new medications with new benefits and new problems. Athletes use new exercises, new equipment and new goals.

Teachers cannot quit learning. Take classes, read blogs, do book studies, try something new!

Now…seriously, don’t quit.

We need great teachers! Just make the decision to be a great teacher: know what’s new in teaching, love teaching and love what you do, love the difference you are making in the lives of your students and their futures, make a list of why you are teaching…and remember it, and learn, learn, learn.

When you learn more, you can share more with  your students, your colleagues, your administration.

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Teachers: It's time to quit. Here are 5 things teachers should quit doing and LOVE their job.

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