A long, long time ago I was hired as a teacher.
Now we aren’t here to question the good judgment of the gentleman who made this decision, but we probably should discuss it at some point.
For whatever reason, he chose me out of 3 candidates.
I may not have been the greatest teacher, but I was evidently better than the other two.
Or they may have turned the job down right before he offered it to me.
I will never know.
But lucky for me, I had a job.
When I was hired, he gave me some good advice. After he put his cigarette out.
Yes, times have changed. In today’s world you would never see a high school principal sitting at his desk hiring a new teacher while sucking on a cancer stick.
But two decades ago, I did.
And I remember his advice like it was yesterday.
He said "Mike, take this advice or don’t. Doesn’t make me any difference. But, if I was a brand new teacher, I would stay out of the teacher’s lounge."
Then he went back to smoking. He really seemed to enjoy it.
I took his advice. And vowed to never smoke at my desk because I didn’t want my fingers to be yellow.
He didn’t tell me why I should stay out of the lounge, but I remember thinking at the time he must know something I don’t because he had been in education forever.
And I mean forever.
His fingers were REALLY yellow.
These days, I’m starting to think Twitter has become the new Teacher’s Lounge.
Neither one is bad, but they are what you make of them.
Both can provide educators positive and upbeat experiences, but both can also suck the living life out of you.
In either place, I think it’s very easy to get caught up in complaining about schools, students, parents, and even politicians.
If I was giving advice in today’s world (and I am), I would say don’t go anywhere where the people around you make you feel bad about your profession.
This might mean the lounge. This might also mean Twitter.