A Letter To Educators

Genie Byrd shares encouragement to educators

Dear Educators:

Rest tonight forgetting anticipation; wishing summer could last longer; greeting and assimilating new team members; sharing new happenings; double checking your classroom. You are ready to return to your other home—your school.

Some educators will walk onto campuses knowing changes have taken place. You are a professional. Adapt at meeting whatever you face. Some may be experiencing sadness with staff member transfers. Others may be adjusting to personal loss, learning to be a new parent, or other changes. Yet, even with changes, there is the same constant: you will commit to your calling and determine not to lose focus on your goals.

Educators face a myriad of views, opinions, and strong feelings among people who are and are not directly involved in education. It can be challenging to determine which voices to listen to and which to ignore. We have many supporters who appreciate our dedication and are cheering us on, and others with strong opposing opinions. Social media, negativity and critics of our educational institution must not be allowed to destroy our focus as positive agents of change.

As school personnel, we have answers for these outside stressors that draw our attention and energy away from the crucial work with our students. Remember: WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM, and it's up to us to have each other's back. It will not be warm and fuzzy 100% of the time, and teachers will not always see eye to eye. Administrators will never be able to make every single teacher happy with every single decision. Personalities may clash. You may not have a "teacher bestie.” It might be hard work. BUT, these people - classroom teachers, administrators, instructional assistants, coaches, music and art specialists, school nurses, guidance counselors, exceptional student support personnel, behavior specialists, social workers, compliance officers, school psychologists, safety officers, office staff, custodians - THESE ARE OUR PEOPLE. These are the people who know what we really do, because we’re doing it together. Despite our differences surrounding education, our common purpose is to impact the lives of students and help set them on the path toward a bright future.

 A CULTURE OF UNITY develops as we use compassion, understanding, and mutual respect, speak well of one another in the teacher's lounge and the storage closet, and encourage the newbies and the veterans. Talk with your administrator when you need understanding. Give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Give praise! Listen to and value each other. When criticism comes from the outside, your school’s mindset remains focused on one job . . . the children.

The success of your students will start with your welcome on the first day of arrival. Apprehensions, insecurities, and reluctance to a more demanding level with a new teacher will melt as you assure each child that you are prepared to give patience, love, and support. Children are perceptive and will quickly know if the welcome mat is real. Oh, that each child may feel so welcomed that tense shoulders will relax, eyes will shine, smiles will come easy, and whispers are heard . . . “I’m glad I’m in this classroom, and I have this teacher!”

Please feel prayers and support from our community. We send YOU bountiful blessings, sweet peace, strong perseverance, fresh excitement, unlimited creativity, great insight, and unending stamina throughout this school year. We believe in you and are thankful for you. YOU ARE AN EDUCATOR WITH A CALLING! Stand strong, remember self-compassion, believe in yourself and trust your higher power.

Genie Byrd

Thanks to family members/educators Gale Ard, Heather Byrd, Katharine and Glen Smith and mentor Peggy Hollis, for insight and editing.

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