Of late I have been struggling to post. Part of the reason for this is some mental turmoil surrounding my job. In an effort to collect my thoughts I penned this.

Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash

Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. It means even when you know that you are fighting the ocean and no one is going to stand with you that you stand up and say no.

Yesterday a colleague commented to me that I have integrity. Right now I find myself in a workplace where it feels as if most people have stopped caring. They don’t understand what they do. They are teachers. They think because they have that job title they automatically care.

But I am learning it doesn’t work that way. Caring isn’t just turning up for the celebrations and the free food. It is holding the line with Young People. It is having the hard conversations and being the unpopular grumpy teacher. Because you care enough to chip away at the hard surface that is a teenager who has been abandoned by most educators and sometimes even by their parents.

Caring is doing this stuff even if you know your manager is going to overturn your ruling when the pressure is on. Caring is keeping your standards when the company who employs you is all about ticking a box. Because when Young People get out in the world they will benefit from being pushed.

When you stop pushing and use the excuse that it doesn’t matter because your manager doesn’t care you stop caring for those people in front of you. At this point I believe that you need to consider if you should still be teaching. if you still have the interest of your charges at the forefront of your practice.

Of course there is a point where being the only one who does the right thing is damaging to your soul. When you realise that people are just taking advantage and that you are never going to reap the rewards. At this point you are faced with a choice. Stop caring and join the rest of the sheep, or find another workplace that is more supportive. I find myself at this juncture.

There are reasons why this choice is not simple. Many questions to answer. Going back to mainstream school is not an option so where would I take my career? If I wanted to I have the financial stability to retire. My retirement would have to be frugal but it is possible. Is there another type of job I could do? The last and most obvious question, have I reached the point where it is damaging for me to continue in the same job with the same company?

The answer to this last question is not yet but it isn’t far away. There may be some changes afoot in my workplace. Pushing back against the negativity and maintaining my integrity may help this change to happen. In the last few weeks I have been doing this. Pushing back, pointing out to people what their responsibilities are. The wheels are turning. I can see a glimmer of hope. I keep getting asked the question “Are you staying next year?” The answer is yes. For now.

3 thoughts on “Integrity

  1. Keep fighting the good fight gem. It seems half the people I know are teachers and all struggle with doing the right thing even though it seems no one cares if you do. You’re one of the good ones because you do care! We all remember that one teacher that spent a bit extra time with us.❤

    Liked by 1 person

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