With a new year comes a new slate and new opportunities. For many, however, the problems of past years persist. If you feel like you’re climbing the same mountains and tackling the same barriers, it may be time to take a new approach. Find new resources to help you succeed in your classroom and career.
One resource you need to leverage? Our new Customer Success Manager, Jennifer Stubblefield. With decades of business education experience, Jennifer knows the problems and challenges that teachers face. She also knows how to help teachers overcome their challenges. Jennifer said, “I just want to be the person helping educators do their jobs. That’s what I was hired to do and that’s what I’m excited to do.”
Jennifer gave us her top three teaching barriers and how she overcame them to make her classroom more successful.
Nothing like a barrier that can actually form a mountain on your desk. The dreaded paperwork. You deal with it constantly. Jennifer can commiserate. “There were so many hoops to jump through. I had to go through twelve steps to get a notebook for one of my students, when I could have easily gone to the store and purchased one. It was such a pain. I didn’t have time for paperwork, because I had this thing called teaching that I was trying to do.”
If you’re busy teaching, it may be time to crowdsource your paperwork. “Be honest with your kids about all the work you do. Bringing them into the inside will allow you to use the paperwork for teaching examples. My students learned what a PO was, how to navigate the financial approval process, and how complex it can be to plan and execute a field trip. I even had one of my students share the complex financial approval process with their parent, and the parents’ company donated money to cover classroom expenses.”
Help tackling paperwork and a real-world finance lesson? A win-win for you and your students.
Lack of Support from Administrators
Some barriers, like paperwork, you can tackle with your students. Others, such as lack of support from your administrators, can be more difficult to overcome. Many teachers don’t have supportive principals, or even support from their state or district level administrators. To solve this problem, you get to leverage your teaching toolbox. Teach your administrators why the skills you teach are valuable.
Jennifer has taught plenty of higher-ups about the value of her work. “I never let anything get in the way of what is best for my students. That means I often must go outside my classroom to show my principal or administrators the value of CTE skills. For all the other teachers, I’d recommend inviting skeptical leadership into your classroom or on that field trip with your students. They need to catch the vision, and you’re the best one to help them see it.
“My daddy always said, ‘Sometimes there’s a time to toot your own horn.’ And do you know how you toot your own horn? You let your certification rates do the talking. Don’t be afraid to shout your programs’ success. Post updates on social media, in the school newspaper, and on the school’s website. Share your students’ success everywhere you can. Get that local employer who has hired your past students to send you an email about their experience with your kids. They’ll praise your program and the skills you teach, and you can copy your principal on your reply. You and your students work hard for those certifications, and your principal needs to know that it’s valued in your community and beyond.”
Lack of Support from Fellow Teachers
Unfortunately, lack of support can come from more than your administrators. Fellow teachers can cut down CTE educators. With some skeptics, like your administrators, it can help to bring them in. With others, it can help to keep them out. Jennifer liked to keep her boundaries firm by blocking out the hate. “Shut the door to your classroom and teach like nobodies’ business. I shut out the negativity. I don’t eat lunch with the negative teachers. I surround myself with excellence, and there’s nothing excellent about teachers bringing other teachers down.
“If you feel like your colleagues, or other factors are weighing you down, take a minute and remember your why. There’s a song by George Michael called “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” If you’re tired or burned out or overwhelmed, just think to yourself, ‘Who’s going to fill my shoes?’ No one can love and teach those kids like you can.”
Looking for a chat to remember your why? Hoping for someone to help talk you through an issue with your classroom? Jennifer has your back! Connect with Jennifer Stubblefield here.