Cultivating Healthy Faculties and Staff
by Jill Jenkins
As a gardener, I understand the importance of balancing fertilizer, water and sunlight to create a beautiful rose garden. As a gardener, I understand the vigilance that is required to keep the plants protected from insects, blight and fungus, but as a former educator I cannot understand how state and district administrators are blameless when fewer college students are choosing to become teachers, more teachers are leaving the profession and those who are staying are demonstrating in the streets. As in other industries, cultivating the talent of employees takes not only resources like money and benefits, but also a fair amount of fertilizer, water and sunlight. By that I mean, treating employees honestly and fairly, keeping commitments and supporting them emotionally through stressful situations. A blog that I recently read by Seth Nichols “Why Teachers Are Walking Out,” seems to support my observation. In his blog, he compares teachers to abused housewife who abandons a relationship only after a cumulative effect of years of abuse. He exemplifies this position with the many hours of unpaid work teachers willingly provide before and after contract hours, the countless resources and supplies they purchase with their own funds and the barrage of abuse they endure from parents, students and the media. Finally, after years of endurance, educators like the abused housewife, walk out.