No, We’re Not Toning It Down

I feel the need to speak up about something I recently heard from two exemplary teachers, on two separate occasions. These teachers have the support of administrators and parents, are aligned with both system and Ministry initiatives, are held in high regard by members of their professional learning network, and work tirelessly to provide rich experiences for their students. However, they also have one other thing in common, they’ve been asked by colleagues within their schools to “tone it down”, because they’re making them look bad. Little do they know, this tactic won’t lead to the intended outcome.

Do the individuals making this request think these champion teachers are going to lower the bar? In fact, it does the opposite. It drives them to be more vocal, and push even harder. It moves them to set even higher standards for themselves, and raise, not lower, that bar. It’s my motivation for writing this post!

I understand that some are uncomfortable with change, and when they see others moving forward, whether it be flexible seating, or teaching mathematics through coding, they may feel that it’s easiest NOT to change their practice, but to tell others to pull back on the throttle. What they may not realize is that these are the very teachers who are more than willing to share, open their classrooms, and support others on a path to move forward. It comes down to mindset. Be open to growth. Don’t tell teachers to “tone it down”, instead, how about trying “show me how to do this”.

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