Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

It’s a paradox, and it’s happening now: Many amazing educators are leaving the brick-and-mortar, physical spaces of learning and teaching, so that they’ll have more time to become better in the seemingly abstract positions of the profession. Education’s newest frontier emerges with ideas unparalleled; opportunities unrealized; and philosophical origins redefined. Positions like “_____________ Consultant, Author, Publisher, Coach, and Innovator are born every day. What an exciting time to be an educator!

Selfishly, I wish educators did not feel the need to leave our physical spaces to be better off, or even see that option as an overall advantage, but the move is making a lot of cents to so many lately. Is it impossible to sustain daily, face-to-face, student interactions while growing your career professionally? I must have been told a thousand times in recent years: “The only way to earn more money in education is to become a principal. You HAVE to do it.”

You have to LOVE it. No one enters their education career seeking to become rich, but what’s not told to pre-service teachers in college is how that teaching salary equates with the time invested. Supplementing the teacher’s base salary with extra jobs or hobbies may come out of necessity more than preference. In addition: done well and meaningfully, teaching is hard work. Show me the professional who’s great at managing people, resources, and making decisions, and I’ll show you a wonderful CEO, perhaps. Show me the professional who’s great at managing kids, adults, schedules, meetings, budgets, and frequent new initiatives while talking on the phone, grading papers, providing feedback, acquiring resources, emailing, conferencing, making decisions, and leading conversations to improve the profession,… and I’ll show you a wonderful classroom teacher.

Legendary educator, leader, visionary, and seven-time author Bill Ferriter has reflected up this topic many times. One of his most recent blogs applies right here:

Perhaps, if we could find better ways to facilitate expert networks, there wouldn’t be a growing gap between experiences in our profession and opportunities in the real world. Perhaps, if we found better ways to maximize resources and streamline communication, everyday education experts would multiply, and not just specialize.

How do we unwrap the raw gifts of meaningful student learning, such as curiosity, inquiry, and wonderment, while maintaining cutting EDge opportunities in research, resources and professional learning and growth for educators? How can exceptional educators supplement their careers with  opportunities, while remaining IN the classroom? Is it possible?

Why You Should #TellYourStory

Every learner, educator, school, and community has a story to tell. Wonderful learning opportunities are happening every day, but we don’t always hear about them. Countless role models are so deeply invested in people, that they have little to no time or resources to get the word out.

In fact, many educators have phenomenal ideas, some of which could even birth impactful, meaningful movements. What all educators do NOT have is expertise in skills like branding, building a website, computer graphics, marketing, authoring, publishing, speaking, presenting, or assuming the role of edupreneur.

Why is there such a gap between the education world and the outside?

If educators don’t have multiple-hour blocks of time to explore several how-to sequences; if they don’t have disposable income to buy-and-try software and media; or if they don’t have experts to share strategies in their networks, their stories will continue to go unheard. Our opportunities to learn within our networks will go unrealized.

What if earning a promotion did not mean leaving your classroom, grade, or even your school? With our current technology at our fingertips, with the world changing faster than ever–there must be a way. Right?

Let’s not compose more posts like “Why I Left the Classroom.” STAY. Let’s figure this out together.

2 Replies to “Facilitating Expert Networks”

  • Kyle’s question:

    What if earning a promotion did not mean leaving your classroom, grade, or even your school? With our current technology at our fingertips, with the world changing faster than ever–there must be a way. Right?


    Are you ready for the brutal truth, Kyle?

    The answer is, “Nope.”

    I’ve spent over a decade trying. And while I’ve accomplished a ton, I’m “still just a teacher” in the eyes of most people — and I can’t pay my bills without working three and four side jobs at a time.

    If you want that work/life balance you spoke about AND you want to be a good parent, it’s time to start looking for gigs beyond the classroom.

    If you don’t mind grinding forever and rarely being home with your own kid, keep teaching!

    Sorry for the bad news,

    (PS: I’m in the back of a dirty McDonalds right now trying to crank out some work and make some money for my family. Meanwhile, my child has called me four times. She wants me to come home and read with her. #thatsucks)

  • I love the idea but sadly, I agree with Bill. Wanting to be an amazing classroom teacher is one of the reasons I’ve decided not to have my own children. How can you do both?

What are your thoughts? Comment here!

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