As educators, we all know how hard October is. If I had $1 for every time some used a phrase included “it’s October” to explain a situation, reaction, overreaction, etc., I would likely be a billionaire! When someone reminded me of the month at the end of this week as a way to rationalize someone else’s behavior, I honestly wanted to roll my eyes, but I chose to scream silently instead. Don’t get me wrong; the stress that seems to come with the month of October is not lost on me. But I often wonder why that sentiment is only applied to classroom teachers. It’s October for everyone who works in education in any capacity and at every level. Why is that built-in empathy only reserved for teachers? I’m in no way saying that it’s not true. I’m merely wondering aloud why that same grace is not extended to specialists, principals, and district administrators.
I wonder how many people realize that most of your leadership team has been back at work since early to mid July. We have been working tirelessly to prepare for the beginning of the year, to prepare for the arrival of teachers, and to prepare for the arrival of students. Once the back-to-school rush is over, we shift into a new gear that involves making up for lost time during the back-to-school rush, planning for the coming months, and monitoring programs, achievement, etc. The job doesn’t become any less daunting when you leave the classroom.
I’m going to pause here to acknowledge a universal truth. Classroom teachers are the most vital element in education. No one is arguing that they are not. Please hear my heart with this post. Education, especially public education, is one of the most thankless jobs in the country at any level.
I’m just here to remind us all that we need to take time to empathize with our campus and district leaders as well. The added weight of being directly accountable for achievement that you indirectly influence is quite the load to bear. Take the time to remember that October is hard for us all. Be a little kinder. Extend a little more grace. Be a little more forgiving. We’re all experiencing the October Effect, and it would do us all well to remember that.