Teachers, We Need to Support Each Other—Not Criticize One Another

Teachers—Let’s Support Each Other

I’ll never forget the first time another teacher made a jab at me for being the “too-nice teacher”. They didn’t realize I was already super aware that I struggled with discipline in my first year of teaching and I was trying my best to get the hang of it. “You’ve got to be mean,” was the only “advice” I’d heard from the teacher community, but honestly, being “mean” wasn’t really my thing. Could I be more firm? Yes. More strict? Absolutely. Mean? Not my vibe. Eventually, I found my groove but the process felt a little lonely. I worried about my label as the “too-nice teacher” more than I should’ve. 

Then, I realized how often my coworkers were labeled, too. There was the teacher with the Pinterest-inspired classroom. She was always the teacher doing “too much”. Why was she trying so hard? Doesn’t she know she’s already doing enough?

Well, maybe it made her happy, and she enjoyed seeing her students benefit from her creativity. 

There was the teacher who lived for coaching but struggled in the classroom; well, maybe that’s where he feels most supported. 

There’s the teacher who can’t seem to handle the daily stressors of teacher life. She’s consistently having breakdowns and just can’t develop that necessary “tough skin”. 

I don’t know, maybe she’s struggling with an invisible illness that has made her extra sensitive, and she’s trying so very hard. Maybe she’s in a tough season in her life at home.

We truly never know what someone else in the teacher community is going through. Who are we to judge?

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that we all have our own unique strengths— which also means we have our own unique weaknesses, too. I can’t help but think how much stronger we’d all be together if we stopped pointing those weaknesses out. Instead, let’s use our strengths to help each other and build each other up.

Share your discipline tactics with me, and I’ll show you how to make your students feel comfortable in your classroom. Show me how to decorate in a fresh, fun way, and I’ll show you how to simplify. Show me how to be a better, more involved coach, and I’ll show you what I do to balance life on the field and in the classroom. Tell me when you’re struggling, and I’ll step in when you need me to. How great would it be to know your fellow teachers would do the same for you?

Let’s let go of this toxic competition that exists in our schools. Every teacher is the “best” at something. Every teacher is someone’s favorite. You are the exact teacher some student needs. I’m the exact teacher for another one. It takes a village to educate a child, but the village isn’t effective when it’s constantly at war. 

Let’s not also forget that teaching is already hard enough without having to impress each other. We’re all just trying to do the best we can with what we know. The only way we’ll survive is if we learn to support each other, forming a safe teacher community.


Teachers—Let’s Support Each Other

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Whitney Ballard is a writer and teacher from small town Alabama. She owns the Trains and Tantrums blog, https://trainsandtantrums.blog/. Whitney went from becoming a mom at sixteen to holding a Master’s degree in Education; she writes about her journey, along with daily life, through a Christian lens on her blog. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the backyard with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.

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