Last year, it felt like I was calling students’ homes more often than ever before. Attendance issues, grades, behavior problems, even the positive calls I try so hard to make each week, all took up a huge amount of time after school. During one of these call sessions, I noticed that I started each call with, “I’m so sorry to bother you ….” The realization was startling. Why am I saying “sorry” for wanting to discuss someone’s child with them? I immediately promised myself to stop apologizing for communicating with parents and guardians. I wasn’t bothering them; I was doing my job. Soon after, I began to realize just how often we, as educators, apologize for things that we don’t need to feel sorry about.
WeAreTeachers asked you to tell us the things you feel teachers should stop apologizing for. Here’s what you said:
Placing value on our own health and wellness
- Eating lunch. Going to the bathroom. —Emily R.
- Missing a day of work for a vacation. —Michael L.
- Leaving on time. —Joni H.
- Having bodily functions. —Kelly H.
Having responsibilities to family/loved ones
- Putting your own family first. —Alison W.
- Spending time with family. —Desiree L.
- Not having additional tutoring times because they have a family. —Deidra M.
- Saying sorry to your family because you have to do work for school, and then feeling like you have to apologize for not doing schoolwork while spending time with your family. —Jason M.
Trusting our professional judgment
- Having high standards and expectations. If you raise the bar and let your students know you believe in them, they will excel! —Kathy Perry B.
- Not responding to messages from parents outside of normal school days or during time with my family. It happens with ridiculous regularity, and parents often expect an answer immediately. —Cassandra L.
- Planning a lesson/unit sequence that is mentally/emotionally sustainable for us and avoids burnout from trying to teach at 100mph every single day of the school year. —Trisha Leann W.
- For not covering a class with no lesson plans. I’m not a babysitter, and I’m not that broke to get stressed out trying to entertain 35 kids I don’t even know. Been shamed multiple times for it. —Demetria C.
The culture in our classrooms
- Poor student behavior. If the teacher has built relationships, taught and retaught expectations and contacted parents, then they have done their job. —Tony R.
- Having a noisy classroom. —KJ D.
- Taking time to check in with students. —Christina R.
- Caring for each child and taking the time to build relationships. —Joe G.
Who we are
- Having emotions. Not being positive 100% of the time. —Katie Allen D.
- Being LGBTQ+, teaching students that you can be successful if you take any sort of alternate path, and teaching empathy. —Phoenix M.
- Having a bad day, needing to cry, not being stronger. —Elizabeth N.
- I’m a very sensitive person. I take the mean things my students say to each other and to me to heart, and it hurts. Fellow teachers have told me I need to toughen up, but I don’t think getting upset by cruelty is a bad thing. —Alicia M.
What else should teachers stop apologizing for? Join our conversation on the WeAreTeachers Facebook page and let us know.