This year I’ve seen several posts, tweets, and had fellow teachers talk about the one word that defines who they are, or just simply describes them at a particular moment. I guess there’s a book they’ve been reading that by the end of reading it, your one word should just come to you. Most of the words I’ve read make the person seem like the most selfless, giving person that you’ll ever meet. And hey, if that’s who they really are then that is great. However, those are not the kinds of words that came to me. And I’m okay with that.
By the title of this post you can easily figure out what word that came to me. Unapologetic. At first glance, you might think the word has selfish, negative connotations. But, it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a quote I found on Pinterest that I really love.
“Do your thing. Do it unapologetically. Don’t be discouraged by criticism. You probably already know what they’re going to say. Pay no mind to the fear of failure. It’s far more valuable than success. Take ownership, take chances, and have fun. And no matter what, don’t ever stop doing your thing.” Asher Roth
Here are the ways I am, or will be, unapologetic. With the exception of numbers one and ten, they are in no particular order.
- I will not apologize for being a teacher who deserves a fair living wage and teaching conditions. (State of Kansas I am talking to you on this one.)
- I will not apologize for advocating for all of my students.
- I will not apologize for standing up and speaking up for colleagues who have not yet found their voice.
- I will not apologize for teaching in a style that is unconventional if it will further the learning and love of learning in my students.
- I will not apologize for winning an award.
- I will not apologize for going against the grain.
- I will not apologize for using paper, pencil, and hands-on learning in this age of technology.
- I will not apologize for using technology in my lessons or professional life. (Yes, I know it seems at odds with number 7, but you need both, not necessarily one over the other.)
- I will not apologize when I put my own or my family’s needs above my school life. I am not a martyr, I’m a teacher.
- Again, and this is necessary to repeat in my state, I will not apologize for being a teacher.
Being unapologetic does not mean that I am, or will be rude. It does not mean that I do not or will not apologize when I have been wrong or have hurt someone’s feelings. It simply means that I won’t stand by quietly while my students, colleagues, or profession are being mistreated or treated unfairly.
What is the one word, or even phrase, that describes you as a teacher? What will you not apologize for as a teacher?