- Boundary Markers: An Alternative to Classroom Management - March 10, 2016
- International Mother Language Day-February 21st - February 25, 2016
- "Dear Future Me..."A Great Reflection Assignment for Students - February 1, 2016
- Thank You In Advance: The Power of Expectation - January 15, 2016
- Under the Guise of Inclusion - November 20, 2015
- Therapy Dogs and Schools - October 15, 2015
- SUPERPOWER Schools - October 13, 2015
- When Life Happens While You Teach - September 22, 2015
- "I'm Her Favorite Student!" - August 31, 2015
- Good Writing vs. Great Writing: Leading the Way - April 27, 2015
How many times have you heard a teacher say it, "I don't care anymore, I just stay in my classroom and lock the door." It's a very real issue and it's what teachers say and do when they no longer feel supported, respected or valued in their building. They keep to themselves. They lock the door, they stay out of the hallways and they feel that at least they can control the environment within the four walls of their own classroom. Have you ever felt like locking the door and only allowing the people that are scheduled to come in during your block, hour or scheduled class time? Most likely everyone has, but it has become a more prevalent phenomenon over the past several years as we have become more and more busy, more and more overloaded and more and more disconnected as a team than ever before. Isolation in the classroom is a very real issue that needs to be brought to light.Isolation in the classroom is a very real issue that needs to be brought to light. Click To Tweet
Case in Point - Suzie
"When I taught at the school that I previously taught in, I felt less than welcome on a daily basis. I'm definitely an "out of the box" thinker...and that kind of thinking can bring on a hesitation from all sorts of angles when it comes to dealing with colleagues. One day, I attended a "Differentiated Teaching" seminar and came back renewed. I rearranged my desks into groups instead of rows, I put colored paper in the ceiling lights to tone down the glare from the fluorescent bulbs and I heard more than one "cackle" in the hallway over my changes. I couldn't believe the resistance. My principal had asked me to attend this seminar, I did and loved it and made the changes that I still use to this day, yet I heard the snickers behind my back. I wasn't about to quit doing what I was doing because it really worked for me, so I just shut my doors and shut them out."
"When I was a new teacher, the school where I was hired was located quite a few miles from my home. I was not a member of the community whereas most of the teachers were. I never quite felt like "one of them," even though I became a successful teacher in the classroom. I saw results, loved my students, and they loved me, but I never really quite fit in; I never felt welcome by the other teachers or the community in general, so I shut my doors and taught in isolation."
"I am a coach and have taught for many years. I've had successful seasons and not-so-successful seasons. When the team won, I felt loved by all. When the team had a losing season people would say that I "deserved to be fired." I grew weary of people second guessing my plays in the hallways or the teacher's lounge. So, I began to go home for lunch every day and stayed out of the halls whenever possible. Instead of dropping my coaching position, I pulled away from people and their criticism."
"I served for many years on numerous committees. It seemed, in the beginning, my ideas mattered, but as time went by, more and more of my ideas came under constant criticism. I eventually stopped sitting on committees and kept my ideas and opinions to myself. It wasn't worth the time and effort."
"As an art teacher, my classroom is in a separate part of the building. I feel isolated from everything that goes on in the main building and certainly, people forget we're even out here. Few people come to visit and it can get quite lonely. I'm isolated by proximity. I'm used to it, and it has become the norm."
"I don't like to be isolated, but I'm so busy that when people come in my room to just chat, I find myself wishing I would've locked my door and turned out the light. Some days I feel that If I take the time to be social, to give time to others, then I'll never get my work done. It's overwhelming."
I would hesitate to guess that anyone of us can think of that one, two or three teachers that are disconnected from their colleagues. For some, you may nearly forget that you work with them until you accidentally run into them in the copy room. What can we do for these isolators? May I please encourage you to reach out to them. I can be frightening; it'll force you to be brave in ways that make you uncomfortable, but in the long run, you will be helping your peers to feel included and a part of the team. If you are the isolator, may I please encourage you to reach out to others? It will be frightening, it'll force you to be brave in ways that make you uncomfortable, but in the long run, you will no longer be doing yourself a disservice by allowing others to squelch your voice by way of default.
The isolated classroom has become a phenomenon that is more prevalent than ever before. It may be due to all sorts of factors, as we have seen, but the more that we reach out to others for support, the more we will thrive in the jobs that we love so much.