Carolyn and I frequently discussed what made a good teacher - and also what made a terrible one. We would talk about that one teacher - you know the one that made you feel stupid, or that school wasn't for you. The one that you just knew didn't want to be there and couldn't wait for retirement. You know - the one that never even noticed you were absent. She called those teachers "kid killers" and I couldn't agree more.
As a young campus administrator, I recognized those teachers immediately. They were the ones the kids dreaded going to, or they celebrated when there was a sub. They were the ones with the most office referrals and often the ones with the biggest truancy problems. They remind me of the quote, "Those who can, do - those who can't, teach." I always take offense to that quote because I believe teaching is a calling - a mission. But I see the kid killers and realize where it came from.
Then there are the sneaky ones. They aren't kid killers, but they are limiters. The ones who limit their students achievement by not realizing the untapped potential and the talent beneath the surface. The ones with too many safety nets or that are so afraid of failure they never let kids stretch their wings. And you have to wonder - are the limiters as dangerous or more dangerous than the kid killers?
It is time we take back our profession. It is time for us to say our students deserve better. Will you be the one that the students have in their corner - the one that pushes them to explore new boundaries, cheering them on with their success and helping them pick up the pieces and put a new game plan in place when they fail? Will you be the one that they look back and think you were the significant adult in their life who turned the tide and challenged them? The one that lit the spark? Every day you have the power to make a child's day. You never know at what moment they will look back and say, "that was the day that changed everything." Will you make a difference? I am committed to being that person. That significant adult. I hope you will join me and make a difference every day.