After sitting down and having a 20 minute conversation with my mum on the phone, tears streaming down my face because there is way to much to do, I came to the realisation that I am not perfect. I know many of you are saying ‘No! That just isn’t true.’ but, you know, I think it actually is… So I decided that I need to write myself a personal educators manifesto. Something that I can put in writing and use when things get too much or my priorities just get a bit off wack. It is a numbered list as there are priorities in the list, a hierarchy if you will.
A promise to myself:
- My students will always come first – behind my family, friends, physical and mental health.
- I do not know everything, nor will I ever, so I will be receptive to feedback and criticism when offered in a constructive way.
- I will use the word ‘No’ where appropriate especially in protection of item 1 above.
- I will learn something new each day.
- I will embrace technology in the classroom but I will remember that it is only a tool and is secondary to the learning opportunity or task.
- A title does not always equal wisdom so I will voice my opinions if I feel people in positions of power are mistaken.
- I will be happy for my colleagues who achieve great things when I do not. It is not a poor reflection on me that they are doing well.
- I will praise colleagues who try something new.
- I will walk away from nasty conversations and gossip about my colleagues. It does not make me feel good.
- I will try something new in my classroom every week.
- It is Ok to make mistakes. I will treat every error a learning opportunity and do it better next time.
- I will not let issues out of my control worry me. It is someone else’s problem if everything goes pear shaped.
- Students outbursts and personal comments will no longer affect me. They are learning to become adults an so will make mistakes and conduct themselves in a way that will sometimes be hurtful. Often this is because they are dealing with personal issues that have nothing to do with me. They will not be obsessing on a flyaway comment overnight so neither shall I.
- I will leave my desk messy. It is ok that my desk is not tidy. There are a lot more important things to worry about.
- OneNote is wonderful but it will not blind me to other ways of delivering and presenting curriculum.
- When teaching stops being fun, when I stop learning and when I no longer look forward to coming in to work, I will make changes so a) it becomes these things again or b) I will change careers. Life is too short to waste on something that I do not enjoy.
My personal manifesto version 1.0 is now complete. There will be gaps and mistakes but that is ok (see item 11). It will not be a concrete set of principles but will change as I get older and my priorities change. I will add, change and take away items from the list and I will listen to suggestions as to how I can improve this manifesto. Please feel free to give some constructive criticism and make some suggestions below. I would also welcome and encourage you to develop your own manifesto. Share it with me and others of the teaching fraternity. We need to remember that teaching is our profession and not our life. Perhaps through doing this we can encourage others to get a ‘life’ as well.