ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What role does professional satisfaction play in the effectiveness of a classroom?
I think professional satisfaction is the biggest key to being effective. A new survey from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) showed that "Nearly half of teachers would quit now for a higher-paying job" (OBrien, 2016). Now the way the question was worded may not be completely accurate it is still startling. "For most unhappy educators, some combination of inane policies, misbehaving or unmotivated students, and unsupportive administrators, colleagues, or parents is at the core of dissatisfaction" (Mendler, 2016).
There will always be things that will upset us or discourage us, but Burgess (2012) makes a good point about finding "our own personal 'drum' and then playing it the best we can." There is so much that we cannot control so we need to try not to worry about the stuff we cannot control. "Play with all the passion, enthusiasm, and heart you can muster. Nothing else really matters. You can offer no finer gift or higher honor to the world than to find out what your 'drum' is and then play it for all it’s worth." Sometimes this can be hard.
This year for me has been very trying. Some of the things you can't control really affect you and it is hard to get past some of these things. Up until this year I have been very happy with where I was at, but this year things are different. Everyone before me who left teaching in a village has told me there was a feeling that you got when it was time to move on and I believe this is what I am feeling. I feel like my emotions are controlling me more than my mind. I believe this is professional satisfaction in a nutshell. When you are happy you know you are in the right place, and if this isn't the case you will know it. Burgess (2012) really sums this up perfectly with a law that I actually taught to my physical science class this year. "The Law of Inertia states that an object at rest will stay at rest unless a force acts on it and that an object in motion will stay in motion unless a force acts on it. To overcome inertia and start moving forward, we must exert great force. Once we are in motion we are more likely to stay in motion. This is especially true if we build up speed and momentum. If you have to stop a car from rolling down the street, would you rather it be rolling at two miles per hour or sixty miles per hour? If it’s rolling sixty miles per hour it will roll right over the top of you and keep going. We want to be rolling sixty miles per hour towards our goals so that obstacles in our path get steamrolled and are distant memories in the rearview mirror. The reason many people get held up by problems and obstacles is that they haven’t built up enough momentum. Take your foot off of the brake and step on the gas!"
Burgess, D. (2012). Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost your Creativity, and Transform your Life as an Educator [Kindle].
Mendler, A. (2016, May 13). Rediscovering Your Fulfillment as a Teacher. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/rediscovering-your-fulfillment-as-teacher-allen-mendler
OBrien, A. (2016, June 09). 3-Step Method to Increase Teacher Voice. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/increasing-teacher-voice-decision-making-anne-obrien