Something’s Gotta Give

As women (or men who step up to the plate) we have this innate ability to take on whatever is brought to our attention. As mothers we take our role of nurturing to encompass all things. As teachers we do NO LESS…


Teachers are one of the most underrepresented group of people in an industry that is so powerful. Coming from Corporate America I know that if the public really knew what has become of education they would be appalled. The majority of teachers will just take on more and more and don’t speak up because of their deep sense of purpose and mission that is to teach young minds. Administrators take advantage of this. The face that is presented to the public (PR) is whatever they want people to see and what sounds good even if it is not logical or an actual action plan has been implemented. It is just dumped on the teacher to “Make it Happen.”

Resources are either not available or if present teachers are not properly trained on how to implement. Classroom management, curriculum…you went to college so let’s see you take a student who is reading two years below grade level read on-level in 187 days. Or take the kid who is being abused daily and make them want to come to school, work, learn and be happy. Wait, what about the child who is given every electronic device on the planet, plays “M Rated” games, involved in three sports and has no responsibility at home. This child is reading on grade level or above so what’s the problem?

Now, let’s take a school full of teachers with the students above in their classes, mix in an administrator who is narcissistic, or is a “parent-pleaser”, or has no idea about curriculum and classroom instruction, or just on a power trip and you get a lot of crying, overeating, drinking, long weekends working, late nights at school…and this “dream job” becomes not so dreamy anymore.

So, after years of trying to fight for and stand-up for teachers I did what any normal human being would do–I QUIT. But, not in that I walked away. I accepted a part-time position as an instructional coach to give me the time to provide Real Coaching to all of those teachers. Even though it was in my job description I rarely got the chance to do it. I was busy pulling kids to try to “do a quick fix.”

Now I hope to spend my time to help teachers Take Back Teaching! I truly believe that it can be a wonderful occupation-the way it used to be with a few tweaks! But teachers need to have the support, knowledge and coaching to make it happen.

Step 1: Join a Union. UEA United Educators Association is my union of choice, but any union will give you more support than you have now.

Step 2: Learn your rights. READ your school districts policies, campus procedures and state educational agency policies. Think about the students and what you teach them. Ask questions, research…

Step 3: Seek an instructional/life coach or fellow teachers to discuss ways to change the things that drain you and are not making you happy.

If you identify with anything in this Blog, please contact me. I would love an opportunity to provide to you some “FREE Coaching.”  How Coaching Works




One thought on “Something’s Gotta Give

  1. Renee P. says:

    Wow Mrs. McGilvra! Now had I only read this one article I would’ve ben more prepared to experience just that. I wouldn’t have been so blindsided by the harsh reality you so boldly described. At 44 years of age, although I had only a few Long term substituting positions along with hundreds of other days of substituting under my belt, that hey I was 44 years old, taught my daughter to read at The age of four; how hard could it be?? Let’s just say that not one of my days working as a substitute did I experience what REALLY goes on behind the scenes. So No I didn’t “have teaching in the bag.” My confidence flew right out the first window that opened. It went out by the playground and lingered there for a little while; until all the kids got there 😉 Suddenly, I was in a sea of fish and let’s just say I was NOT the shark; more like the starfish you’d see stuck to the glass in a state of paralysis, not knowing what to do. All I knew was that, I had a job to do! Heck Mrs. McGilvra- I had lives to change and not knowing where or how to start was not going to help me succeed the way I was “required” to. Do I focus the first few weeks on establishing boundaries, building a positive, trusting relationship with the student, start drilling them with test taking strategies and memorization techniques, or run to my administrators every chance I got with a plethora of questions. Well, what would you do?? I ran to my administrators with every question I possibly could think of LOL! Funny looking back on it now, they however did not find it very funny or they just did not have a good sense of humor. 😉 either way, what seemed to be a warm, friendly staff, some turned cold and distant very quickly. As if it was a bother and how do I not know these things. The group of 3rd graders I was responsible for were primarily underprivileged students who had issues ranging from broken homes to violent homes, to no homes at all. Mix that with my underdeveloped knowledge of the curriculum, policies and procedures, lesson planning, you name it; I was inexperienced at it. If I only had a coach to help get me to my fullest potential so that I can in turn bring the students to their’s. Some guidance a few hours a day in those first two weeks or so and then a couple hours a week until I was comfortable with the challenges I would be facing and the school would be comfortable as well with my performance. Unfortunately, there was no one with your title, or even like you at all, with realistic expectations and a simplified, yet concrete set of guidelines and objectives to help me become not only the teacher that I wanted to be, but the teacher the students needed me to be. I know your first article was written primarily just to give an introduction and summarize the big picture of what the public does not see, but even from a Layman’s perspective you definitely not the tip right off the iceberg! Hats off to you not only for taking such strong interest to notice, but to come forward and do something about it. Thank you Mrs. Mcgilvra- the School systems in our country could use a few more of you! Stay brave and be an inspiration to us all. You certainly seem like you have the ambition and compassion to get the ball rolling and make it happen. Best regards, Renée P.


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