Teaching Profession

Are End-of-the-Year Motivational Campaigns Insulting to Teachers?

By Alix Mammina — May 01, 2018 3 min read
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As the school year winds down, some teachers use Facebook and Twitter to encourage their colleagues to stay motivated and finish strong. And while many teachers responded positively to the messages, some say it feeds a false—and insulting—narrative about the teaching profession.

The Twitter campaign #LastBell, which was originally launched in 2016 by the Women in Education Leadership Voxer group, started up again this week. The campaign will run throughout May, and invites teachers to share resources and motivational messages to encourage each other “‘til the last bell rings.”

While some found the posts uplifting, many teachers raised concerns about the unspoken message behind campaigns like this one. In a short open letter posted on Twitter, English literature teacher David Theriault asked, “Do you think us classroom teachers just give up three weeks early? Do you think the public needs another reason to think teachers aren’t doing their job?”

English language arts teacher Jodie Morgenson agreed, tweeting, “If you need me, I’ll be teaching, planning to teach, attending PD to improve my teaching, or reflecting on my teaching ... until the end of the school year AND throughout the summer.”

Others shared similar complaints:

And some educators offered explanations as to why the perception of the “end-of-the-year slump” persists. “The #lastbell stuff is nonsense, because it’s the standardized tests that created the idea of the ‘lame duck’ period at the end of the year anyway,” middle school teacher Jana Maiuri tweeted.

Update (May 3): Seemingly in response to the stream of negative comments about the campaign, there has been a burst of support for #lastbell on Twitter.

Teachers, do you find end-of-the-year social media campaigns encouraging or exasperating? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misstated who started the #lastbell campaign and when it began. It was started by the WEL Voxer group in May 2016.]

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.