Hands Up, not Hands Out.

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Hands Up... It's What We Ask of Our Students.

When schools face financial difficulties it’s easy to get bogged down.


By complaining (I mean complaining more than usual… not that this ever happens in the teacher’s lounge or at administrators’ meetings).

It’s easy to blame politicians for our troubles in education (I personally enjoy this a LOT).

Constant complaining seldom makes things better.

Our focus has to be on the students.  Our job as educators is to provide kids with the best education possible.

Sure, we may have to do this on a budget, but that’s okay.

During difficult times comes innovation (I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating… mainly because I have a garage full of bumper stickers that I need to sell).

We will have to make improvements on the cheap, but any progress is good progress.

Schools may be struggling financially, but we still have a job to do.  Busses will arrive and the first hour bell will ring, so education will continue to move forward (that is if the electric bill gets paid…).

I really believe schools will rise to the occasion as they face the biggest of challenges.

Certain types of pressure brings out the best in people.

Like the threat of losing your job.

In this age of cutbacks, I think you will see teachers, administrators, and school employees doing even more than usual.

This can only benefit students.

It may mean longer hours and more responsibilities for school employees, but it has to beat unemployment.

Educators will be quick to volunteer.  Quick to make themselves as useful as possible.  Quick to take on any and all extra duties.

We are moving from an era of people having their “Hands Out” to one where everyone will have their “Hands Up”.

It is no longer what can you do for me, but what can I do for you?

To quote Tom Brokaw… “It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”

I hate to admit it, but the title for this blog came from all people…  a politician.  Sad, but true.

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5 Responses to “Hands Up, not Hands Out.”

  1. Deb Hanson
    on Jan 25th, 2010
    @ 5:57 am

    I’m seeing this phenomenon from a little different perspective than you, I think. What I am seeing is teachers being TOLD that if they do not step up and do more (like volunteer for more committees and workshops or after-school activities and take extra classes), then they can expect to lose their jobs or get poor evaluations. I also see extraordinary teachers who are already going above and beyond to stay late and help students, connect with parents, analyze data, and find new ways to reach their hard to reach students getting reprimanded for not doing the committee work or extra classes the administrators want them to do. I’m seeing the pressure come from above, and it is killing the intrinsic desire to do more. Yes, in these hard economic times we all must reach higher and farther and give more, but let’s reward and praise the good and extra efforts of teachers who care about their students and not use a thumbs-on, fear-of-losing-your-job approach to getting more out of people. I’d love to see hands up for “what can I do for you” instead of “I give up”.

  2. Charlotte Campbell
    on Jan 25th, 2010
    @ 1:48 pm

    Educators have always had their hands up….so what’s that got to do with financial difficulties. When the funding is cut in Alabama and teaching units aren’t there and numbers in the classroom continue to rise, volunteering isn’t the answer . Teachers have always made a difference. Hey, how long has it been since you walked in a classroom Michael.. They have to stay late and come early…no matter what the financial situation happens to be. Here’s another thought..there may not be enough busses to arrive early for that first bell. And one more thought let’s all put our hands up for all the pink slips that may be passed out to some of the best teachers in the classrooms. Financial woes call for permanent funding for education …which by the way, doesn’t exist. Teachers have always made a difference, what they are lacking is the buck…maybe it doesn’t come that easy afterall! Charlotte Campbell, educator from Alabama

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Charlotte Campbell,Question: “Hey, how long has it been since you walked in a classroom Michael..”

    Answer: It was about 2:45 today.

  3. JJ
    on Feb 2nd, 2010
    @ 1:37 pm

    Saw your Blog bookmarked on Reddit. I love your site and the marketing strategy. Not bad for a superintendent.

  4. Preschool Manalapan NJ
    on Feb 12th, 2010
    @ 3:19 pm

    A friend emailed me a link to your blog. He said, “Hey check this blog out, it sounds just like you”, and wow was he ever right. If I didn’t know better I could have sworn I’d written some of these posts myself. Thanks for making me smile today.

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