Where’s Your Diploma? Claiming Respect as Teachers

So here’s an idea for all my friends who are educators drawn from my recent presentation at NCTE…

Where’s your diploma?
Where are your credentials?

When I go to a doctor, lawyer, dentist – even my mechanic and the young man who cuts my few meager hairs, they have their diplomas and other credentials framed and on their walls.

Where are YOURS?

We teachers do a TERRIBLE job of “tooting our own horns.” That sets us up for a massive amount of disrespect from administration, parents, community, even fellow teachers. What do we know? We’re “just teachers.”
Well, we know a lot. To quote Fredo in The Godfather, ” I’m smart! … I’m smart and I want respect!”

So, in the subtlest, way possible, let’s claim a little respect. A small gesture. An action at an entry level to greater advocacy.

POST YOUR CREDENTIALS. Find your diploma that’s buried in a box in the attic. Find your certificate. Some of you may have them framed (but are they in your office or classroom?). Some don’t even know where they are! If you’re unwilling to frame and post the originals, just make a photocopy of them and post them on your bulletin board. Have fun. Mount them on construction paper. Make borders. Color the copies. Put them on the wall. Make a new copy every year.

Post items that certify or indicate that you were at a professional development workshop, took a class, attended NCTE. (I used to prop up my program book from NCTE in the chalk tray. Some student would always “bite” and I was afforded the opportunity to tell them about all the great people I got to meet and from whom I learned.)

Let everyone know that YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL. That you are studied. That you know “current best practice”. That you are learned. ADVOCATE for YOU and for your profession!

Let’s start a movement. When you do it, take a photo, post it, share it with me. I respect you. You’re smart. You know things. Let the rest of the world in on it. If you like this Idea, spread the word.unnamed

Bob Dandoy is a Past President and Executive Director of PCTELA. Although still active in PCTELA and NCTE, he is now retired from the classroom after 38 years of service.

Where’s Your Diploma? Claiming Respect as Teachers

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