Saturday, July 4, 2015

To Power and Empower Up

Image Source: User SnapwireSnaps, Pixabay.com

Summer brings an unexplainable happiness and joy to most teachers, myself included. Teachers are extremely fortunate to get a period of rest, respite, and reflection each year. I would go so far to say all professions should have a 'break' like this. Extended time away balances one out and prevents us all from working our lives away. A long summer recharges the batteries and provides an opportunity to start the school year ready to rock and roll.

There is a common misconception that a teacher's job 'stops' over the summer. I don't think so. The job merely shifts. Most educators attend conferences, read books, prepare lesson plans, and game plan for a successful year. Thus, summer is important for many reasons. Summer is more than a time to recharge, its a time to regenerate, rejuvenate, and to improve.

Image Source: User Stevebidmead, Pixabay.com

I have a challenge for my fellow educators this summer. Instead of simply powering up over the summer, let's concentrate on a few things we can do to empower up this summer. What can we do over the summer to empower ourselves as professionals, leaders, and change agents for the coming year? How can we prepare ourselves to look beyond the trivial day-to-day skirmishes over recess duties, attendance procedures, email norms, and copier limits?

How can we empower ourselves to lead difficult discussions on technology, curriculum, inequality, and society? I don't have the answer, but I think we can start with an attitude shift. Accepting the challenge to start the school year as an empowered leader will guide the preparation we take on. Maybe the books we read will be different. Maybe the summer travel destinations will change. Maybe the conversations we engage will be different. Maybe we will approach summer profession development in a new way.

Image Source: User Space-X Imagery, Pixabay.com

I understand empowerment looks different to each teacher. It should. The underlying reason for approaching the summer with an empowerment focus is because teachers are models. Models in the sense that students, and other teachers, look to our attitudes and behaviors. We model the actions and perspectives of those who look to us. If we want our students to be empowered, then we need to authentically feel so ourselves. If we want other teachers to be leaders, then we need to be willing to lead. Teachers also need to exhibit their professionalism, their prestige, their importance. Many of us have advanced degrees and years of experience. We are professionals. Starting next school year, I challenge you to show others your power and empowerment. It starts now.

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