“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

Last summer a colleague left our school.  An amazing educator who cared deeply for our students-who worked countless hours to build a program of integrity – that challenged and prepared our students for life beyond the classroom.  They left, not to go to administration, not to move up the pay scale, not to move to a bigger or even ‘better’ school district. In my opinion, they left because they no longer felt valued.
I’m happy they found a place where they feel needed, challenged to grow and create as an educator.  They found a place they feel valued.  A place to be innovative.  A place with a vision.
Its heartbreaking to me that people actually don’t look forward to going to their job on a daily basis.  Its heartbreaking to know people are actively looking to move on… from a place you love.  Their reason…because they don’t feel valued.
Punch the time clock, go home.
No joy, at all.
And its not fair because our children deserve more.
New and old teachers sometimes struggle. They sometimes need help.  They always need feedback.  They sometimes need guidance.  They always need to know someone cares.  They always need to feel valued.
In the classroom, when a student knows you care – that you value them as a person, as a learner, as a thinker…they’ll go to the ends of the earth, literally.  You can push and challenge and they’re willing to take the next step, braving the possibility of failure because they know you’re the safety net – who will help them gain confidence to try again, should they fail.
When they know you care, they’ll work harder than you ever expected.
When they know you care, they’ll put in the long hours to achieve their best.
When they know you care, they don’t mind going the extra mile, digging in to do the tough stuff.
When they know you care, they feel valued.
They’re inspired.  They become innovative thinkers.  They create a vision of their future.
When they don’t feel valued, they check-out mentally.
When they don’t feel valued, they leave.
We lose talent.
We lose creativity.
We lose innovation.
We lose.
Teachers who care… they don’t go the extra mile for a pat on the back.
But when they feel valued, they don’t leave.

3 responses »

  1. Great Post! Those that can leave, may. Too bad some who need to leave stay around because they are afraid to leave. I understand. The most valuable thing I learned from getting my Administrative credential is I love my students too much to leave the classroom! I am passionate about curriculum and kids.

    Some of us just get the juice we need from knowing that we are doing our best, Admin is doing their best. It is difficult but maybe the kids need a super-duper teacher more than the teacher needs to be told he/she is doing a good job.

    That is what the MTBoS is for!

  2. Well said Pam. It’s a shame that more administrators don’t realize that, as our leaders, we need them for guidance and inspiration. Yes, students do provide a high level of motivation for a teacher, but we need to feel like administrators have our back too. I don’t think it’s that hard, either. A little empathy and good faith goes a long way. Besides, the students will be the ultimate benefactor.

    A great teacher is going to be a great no matter where they teach. They don’t need coddling. They’re not needy. They understand that there’s too much work to be done for all of that. All great teachers want is to feel like they’re part of the team. I guess the question for an administrator is: do you what an awesome teacher at your school to support your vision or do you want them supporting the vision of another principal at another school? It’ll be hard for them to leave because of the kids, but they will.

    This whole thing reminds me of a truly inspirational administrator I had who moved on:

  3. Hello! This post was recommended for The Best of the Math Teacher Blogs 2016: a collection of people’s favorite blog posts of the year. We would like to publish an edited volume of the posts and use the money raised toward a scholarship for TMC. Please let us know by responding via whether or not you grant us permission to include your post. Thank you, Tina and Lani.

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