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- Visualize: How Seeing What's Coming Changed My Teaching - August 16, 2021
- 10 Lessons About Teaching from My Youngest Son - June 24, 2021
- Ending the Epithet “Try-Hard” Once and for All in Classrooms - June 18, 2021
- From STEM, Let's Pivot to the BRANCHES of the Humanities - May 25, 2021
- Would Education Collapse If Teachers Stopped Working for Free? - May 20, 2021
- 10 Ways to Teach Like Ted Lasso: Part II - April 21, 2021
- 8 Tips So Your Substitute Plans Don't Suck - April 14, 2021
- 10 Ways to Teach Like Ted Lasso: Part I - March 12, 2021
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: Habit 3 - First Things First - February 26, 2021
Firefighters regularly press their uniform and cap, polish their trucks, and look their best to march in Memorial Day parades. It's a way for the entire firehouse to forge together, in a common bond, for the good of their department and to showcase their best for their community. They don't get paid for it, and yet you'll see every firefighter dazzled up for the parade.Some teachers may have taught for 35 years and never attended a graduation beyond their own child. Click To Tweet
Teachers, on the contrary, are widely missing from our parade -graduation. There aren't many customs that teachers alone are privy to, but one of them is to don their robes and regalia for high school graduation. Yet most teachers don't take advantage of this process - in fact, some teachers may have taught for 35 years and never attended a graduation beyond their own child. That needs to change. Teachers should be attending graduation every year, and here are 5 reasons why:
- Attending graduation as a full staff looks great - first, try to put yourself in the shoes of a graduate; how incredible would it be to see every single teacher you've ever had behind you? One cannot weight the power of that image. Similarly, could you imagine being a member of the community, sitting in the stands, seeing every teacher behind your children, supporting them as they make the transition from child to adult? It's hard to be "anti-teacher" when all your teachers are so "pro-student," and one of the best pieces of PR can be used on graduation day.
- It's the ultimate pinnacle of students' 13 years of hard work and determination - these students have gone through plenty of struggles and hardships throughout their years. The struggle can happen for one or many years; they can be from home, academics, or social struggles. Most students will successfully tackle and rein them in; others, not so much. Regardless, they made it here, 13 years later. But this isn't just an end, it's a new beginning. Celebrating with them is pivotal in this profession
- You helped them get there - I don't know about other teachers, but when my students succeed, I get to take a little sliver of their success and call it my own. We don't make widgets - we make better citizens. It's time to be proud of that yourself.
- Graduation happens but once a year - think about how many IEP meetings we attend throughout the year; how many staff meetings; how many student-teacher conferences; how many papers we grade; how many times we're stuck in traffic driving to and from school. Now compare those consistent, daily struggles with a one-day celebration. Remember, it's just one day.
- The surprises are worth the experience - I've attended graduation the last 4 of my last 8 years, and I absolutely love the surprises that children throw my way. One former student who I was very tough on approached me and talked about how I changed her life; other students have memorized full hilarious conversations that we've had; and, still, others tell you the story of how much success they've reached, thanking you for it.
Here are 5 ways schools can better promote teachers to attend graduation for little to no cost:
- Offer free, VIP parking and treat the teachers like VIP's - valet park teachers' cars, escort us in, give us a VIP room with coffee and a place for us to catch up with one another; there aren't many times we're treated special (most of us are penny-pinchers), so if this were our "big day out," we'd love our schools and PTOs for the treatment.
- Provide a buffet brunch - Most graduations happen either in the late morning or early afternoon. Want teachers there on a Saturday? Provide food. It's a surefire way to promote their attendance.
- Allow teachers to hand out diplomas to their former students - Think this one makes sense for all parties. Teachers and students alike appreciate what school board members do for the community, but that diploma hand-off and photo opportunity would mean boatloads more to the honoree and the teacher if they could be connected, officially, for one last time
- Provide trade time for teachers' attendance - this is one measure our district is implementing this year; we'll receive ½ a day's in-service credit for attending graduation; this is such a great idea
- Limit the amount of time spent at graduation - lastly, don't make graduations three hours long; schools should do their awards ceremonies separate of graduation and let graduation just be about the speeches, the diplomas, the smiles, the tears, and the end of the secondary school experience. Under 2 hours is almost a must!
Questions for you to answer on our Facebook page:
- Do you attend your school's graduation? Why or why not?
- What are some great memories you have of your own teachers from your graduation?
- What are some stories you've collected while speaking to students before, during, and after graduation?