Recently, a certain New York politician appears to be targeting teachers in an atrocious manner to weed out the bad. Unfortunately, I forsee many good teachers losing their path. Frustrations, devaluing, negative evaluations based on a test that the teacher did not take themselves, all seem to point to increased rapid “Teacher Burnout”.
On the days when I feel my light beginning to dim, I am so grateful for my friends at Discovery Education and the DEN. Not only do they provide worldclass media rich resources to accentuate our classrooms. But they provide friendships and inspiration to keep us motivated. This past August, I built a communal learning space in my school. I called it the S.T.E.A.M. Cafe. A place to embrace science, technology, engineering, arts and math and how they interconnect. The room design is part faculty lounge, part makerspace, part instructional space with a SMARTBoard. I am always looking for resources and materials to make the space better. As I gathered the last few cardboard tubes from recent rolls of bathroom tissue to bring to school, I was struck by how stacked together they would form a tunnel. In light of the New York educational situation, that makermovement concept had me reach for a battery operated candle. The old phrase of “Light at the end of the tunnel” came to mind. As teacher friends in the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) shared resources that I had saved earlier that day, I was reminded that our goal should be to help students find their path and light their path. As teachers we should provide them with opportunities to learn and grow. Should my position as an educator be tied to students in my building penciling in the correct number of correct bubbles? Or should my position as an educator be tied to students building, drafting, revising, planning, learning, absorbing, creating, and understanding? In my world view, that second set of actions is much more important. I believe as teachers we should give students a chance to soar. Help them build wings not clip them. And after they have built their wings, help them design even better wings. Discovery and the DEN helps me build my wings. And develop newer and better wings with richer and greater ideas.
Resources such as these should be shared with students: Wright Brothers video. Not the Wright Brother built a) a car b) a boat c) an airplane?
So this post is to say a very loud, “Thank you!”. I send it out to every member of the Discovery Education platform creators, to every member of the Discovery Education professional development team, to every member of the support team, and of course to every last member of the DEN Stars. You all keep me going. Thank you for the DENspiration!