Education Opinion

Not there, but always around

By Jessica Shyu — June 26, 2008 1 min read
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It’s around these next few weeks that people are making their final decisions around whether to stay in the classroom next fall or to move into a different role or field. I’ve always felt some tinge of guilt for going. For those in the midst of making up your minds, remember: Always honor your children. Here was a response I had for a reader who disagreed with my perspective, but who helped push my thinking about my role and our collective role as a society for children.

Dear John,

Thanks for adding to the conversation. I have to respectfully disagree, however, because I have not left my students behind. I may not be teaching them directly anymore, but my value as a teacher in the classroom was to give them a high quality of learning. Even though my day-to-day role is different, my value in the classroom is the same-- to give a high quality education, especially to kids whose socioeconomic status is keeping them from attaining one already.

It was not as as quick for me to see my direct impact I have as a program director-- I’m not there day-to-day to see the a-ha moments of Taylor or Claudia when their teacher improves her checks for understanding-- but I do have the satisfaction of knowing that without my work as Claudia’s teacher’s program director, her teacher wouldn’t have so quickly changed and improved her checks for understanding for them to reach those a-ha moments to begin with.

It was a tough transition for me, but it’s one I’m proud of. It’s also made me think back to the individuals who had a real impact on improving my teaching. Those fellow teachers, program directors and, yes, administrators, may not have been in the classroom with me each day, and it may have looked like they weren’t doing much for the kids, but by opening my perspective to the many different people and work that is needed to closing the education gap, I see how folks who choose not to be in the classroom everyday are still making significant changes in kids’ lives. By making assumptions about teachers, administrators, and everyone else in the education world, we run into the dangerous way of not working together toward the same goal from the many different directions necessary. It takes a village and we can’t afford to leave anyone out.

The opinions expressed in New Terrain are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.