We put a lot of pressure on STEM teachers to provide support their students, but are our teachers themselves receiving that same luxury?
“It takes a Village.”
Our society often uses the saying “It takes a village” when talking about raising children. The saying, taken from an old African proverb, most literally means that a child’s growth comes from the entire support network they have around them, and not only from their parents. Friends, peers and colleagues, teachers and school staff, and parents and family are all considered integral to our children’s success.
This is especially relevant when we talk about the school setting. Parents trust that the schools their children attend will provide the children with the information, tools, and skills necessary to graduate, while also providing the guidance and support needed for their success.
But what happens when the school cannot even support its own staff?
Over the years of running our PD workshops, we at STEMteachersNYC have noticed a common message often shared by our participants: the lack of support they feel within their own schools. Whether due to funding issues, personnel available, or whatever the cause may be, many of the STEM teachers we speak to come back saying that they feel alone in their schools. Sometimes these teachers are the only teacher in their district teaching a subject. Other times, teachers are being forced to teach classes outside of their expertise, without a support network around them to even bounce ideas off of.
It is then the expectation that these teachers, who are often struggling just to come up with their lesson plans, are then going to be able to provide each student with the individual attention and guidance that they require. This is why us at STEMteachersNYC have strived to establish a community in which teachers can look to for support and answers, or to just connect with other teachers experiencing the same issues.