Each year starts with an all employee address. It is our state of the union, and we hear it just the same as the major populus. Pockets of people are on the edge of their seats, taking notes and nodding heads. Others are listening with a layer of cynicism built over the course of a career with too many leaders full of faulty logic and no carry through. In the middle are the masses. Some care, some don’t. Some listen with intention, some don’t listen at all. We are told we aren’t a business, we aren’t political, but that is a farce. We are a business. We are in politics—just ask the teacher unions who they endorse or the community what they want out of our products.
We are a powerful business.
We are constantly in a parade of politics as we navigate stakeholders and their desires. The layers in education are staggering as they become visible with each waking moment, but as we wake up to the truth of our profession, the dawn of our personal position also starts to focus.
We are managers, personal CEOs of the classroom. What kind of leader do we want to be? If someone worked under us for 180 days per year, what do we hope they think about us as a “boss”? Secondary teachers are one of six or seven CEOs our “employees” see throughout the day, and we ask them to switch ideology, change politics, and buy in with no voice, no choice, every day.
They are marching in the same political parade. They know the truth, and they hold the potential. It is what they say that matters because they are the first consumer to what educators are selling. If they don’t buy that the parade is worth it, if they don’t buy that our content is relevant, if they don’t buy, then how do we sell?
That answer will say more about our politics, our position, and our person, than any state of the union can.