How many times a day do you hear, “We need to do what’s best for kids.” I don’t know about you, but I have heard this phrase overused for many different reasons. Sometimes, what’s best for kids really isn’t best for kids at all. I have heard it used for educational mandates and policies, testing, instructional design, and even for scripted curriculum. Since when is it okay to use the phrase “What’s best for kids” to get teachers to do what you want? And do you really think we are going to buy your B.S.? I want to make it clear that not all administrators use the phrase to their advantage, but I am betting there are a handful of administrators out there that are using this phrase inappropriately.
When you use, “What’s best for kids,” for things that are not really best for kids, it silences teachers. You are essentially telling us that what you need/want us to do is best for kids, and that if we don’t do it, we don’t want what’s best for kids. In right-to-work states like Arizona, most teachers are not going to argue with you without fear of retribution. So we sit in meetings while you tell us, “This is best for kids,” and we know the truth. So stop acting like you invented anything that is good for kids.
This strategy also makes the teacher out to be the villain. Because you know anything and everything that is best for kids, we must know nothing that is good for kids. Stop making us sit through your meetings while you belittle us and preach to us about what is and what is not good for kids. Please stop showering us with your wisdom about what loving kids looks like and feels like. Stop insinuating that we don’t already know a thing or two about what is best for our students.
In a perfect organization, every teacher’s voice should be heard when it comes to what’s best for our kids. We need to continue to learn and grow through collaboration. We need to continue to reflect on our practices and find solutions to really find what is best for our kids.
So if you have ever used the “Best for Kids” excuse, I am asking you to reconsider your approach. Let’s not wear the phrase out. Please ask us what we think is best for kids. Encourage us to speak up if we disagree. Facilitate meaningful collaboration that is realistic and purposeful. Because we all want what’s best for kids. We just don’t need unnecessary tasks delivered to us wrapped with a “Best for Kids” seal of approval.
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Does this happen at your school? I would love to hear your opinion on this issue!
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