Teachers are a hardy bunch. I am focusing my blogs of late on all things gratitude, and today, I thought I’d share the perspective of a facilitator, i.e. me and why I am grateful for the work I do with teachers. With you. Being a facilitator after 30 years in school is fascinating. The people I get to meet and work with are pretty happy, tired, exhausted and fatigued, but also happy. This is especially true and visible on student-free professional learning days. You, amazing teacher, are eager to talk, have time to affirm current practices and connect with colleagues you might usually not have time to catch up with. There is a buzz, a feeling of, ‘It’s just us for the day!’ It is a great feeling.
As a facilitator, it’s my job to try and connect with everyone, to have a few laughs if possible, and to inspire, challenge, affirm and listen. Every teacher that I work with is in it for the right reasons. You all have a vested interest in student success, and while your origin stories may differ, your love of all young people is constant. Every teacher, all of you, have a story – many actually – about the time you finally connected with a tough kid or guided a student to tremendous success, maybe even having that student finally say ‘Good Morning’. We celebrate these little wins…all day long.
In Professional Learning sessions, I see you wanting to do things differently, relationally, and restoratively with our young people. You want to help build empathy and understanding, accept responsibility and ownership when things go wrong with our students, and help them become good people and citizens. You are working hard to learn more. I see you grappling with new ideas, experiencing cognitive dissonance – trying hard to fit unknown information in with the known. Talking things through, supporting your colleagues as we wrestle with some things that might feel counter-intuitive. When you react emotionally, I see you and not the emotion, I see the dedication and desire to learn, I see the challenge you are working through, and I see that this is where you are today. And I thank you for being there.
This year I have seen more exhausted, dog-tired, fatigued, overwhelmed and stressed-out teachers than ever, yet you come. You show up, stand tall and are there to keep going with the work even when you’d much rather be somewhere else. This year has also seen the number of twilight sessions increase due to the time-poor nature of schools, and this can hit you hard. One once said, ‘I came here today prepared to hate you. But I didn’t.’
Every time I walk into a Professional learning day or a twilight session I take a moment to be grateful that I have the opportunity to work with all of the teachers in front of me. I don’t, not even for a second, take for granted your time and attention that you are gifting me with on that day. Thank you to all of our teachers, staff and leaders for continuing to value the importance of building positive relationships with our students and for showing up to be present even when you are running on empty.
Check out other articles Cassie has written here.