I was a bit discouraged recently when I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues who told me that she was feeling undervalued as an educator. As people who work in a profession serving and working with people, how do we let this happen?
I know, I know we can’t pick someone up who doesn’t want to be picked up. We can’t help those that thrive on the attention they might gain as playing victim. But how can we allow one of our teammates to feel invisible, undervalued, and unappreciated?
I remember when I first started my teaching career in 1996 I felt out of place. Many people made me feel welcome and appreciated, but I didn’t have the self-esteem to believe I was effective at what I was doing, teaching students. I remember that a few experienced teachers were willing to lend me their ear to listen or even their shoulder to lean on, but more often than not it was my perception that I had to learn, learn fast, and learn on my own. I have not forgotten that feeling, the feeling of being lost on an island in the mid-Pacific ocean under the burning sun.
For those of us who are now the experienced co-workers in our place of employment, let’s make sure that no one on our team feels alone or undervalued. If they continue to feel this way it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; the longer one feels undervalued the less value he/she will bring to the team therefore affecting the efficacy in the classroom. Surround yourself with positive people and be sure to recognize the strengths in others. Most importantly, recognize your own gifts and NEVER back down to anyone…we all have a role and a purpose in every community with which we are a part. If you feel invisible, make yourself known in positive ways.
For our team to be the best it can we need everyone having and maintaining a positive sense of self-worth. It is no one’s responsibility but your own to be sure that you are nourishing your self-worth by building a positive work ethic, self-confidence, and integrity. Anything worth doing takes hard work. Anything that is built with a solid foundation will never crumble. Let’s build a positive community of co-workers who know that their contribution is one of purpose and grand value!!