Play nice, don't fight, don't whisper and give compliments. Share, take interest and never, ever be critical. Highlight others before yourself, don't ask for special treatment, share your voice but take turns. Rules we teach our kids? Sure, but also rules that we teachers are expected to follow. So when we look around and wonder how we as a group get such little respect by some politicians, by some media, even by some parents, administrators, and fellow teachers, the truth is; we did it to ourselves.
Teachers are their own worst enemy it seems. We are not expected to share our successes in case someone gets offended that they are not being highlighted. We are not expected to shine a light on the things we do well in our jobs, and there are many, because someone may get jealous. We shouldn't draw attention, rather pass it to our kids. We shouldn't tell people our pay, or how many hours we put in but rather stand as saints hoping someone might notice. Indeed we are expected to stand up for our students, but not for ourselves because it is just so uncouth. We are supposed to be selfless, with no wants besides the basics; food, shelter, and maybe some respect. We are not supposed to say that we would like better pay for the incredible amount of work we do. We are not supposed to say; look at me, look at what I do, and give me some respect. (Which yes, can be done in a nice manner, that then can be easily dismissed).
Teachers should play nice, like we tell our students. Don't cause too many waves because it is unbecoming of our profession. Don't raise your voice too much because you may offend. Whatever happens to us, happens, because we choose to not raise our voice, to not band together, and instead waste our time fighting amongst ourselves. It is time to rise up, it is time to raise our voice, to occupy our classrooms and stand tall. To highlight the incredible work we do, to get the respect we deserve. To be treated like we treat our students. So as I give my students a voice, I allow myself to speak as well. We are the 99% and together our whispers will become a roar.