Persistent Teachers Are Real Diamonds

If you give up on your class and leave teaching then the system crumbles.

Children need their teachers to be persistent players who don’t give up. They need role models so they know what to do when the going gets tough. Quitting is never an option when we serve children.

Persistence, persistence, persistence: the difference between coal and diamonds is that diamonds stayed on the job longer.

Well-being is clearly an issue for teachers but then it’s an issue in every occupational group where you give, give, give. Nurses have left their posts in their thousands but many haven’t. Teachers have left their posts in their thousands but again, many haven’t.

Those that have stayed have been persistent and they are the true diamonds of the system. These teachers see persistence as the daily work of a teacher (Haberman, 1995) and so keep on going even if the system is dysfunctional. They think in terms of maximum standards not minimum.

There are persistent challenges so the response of star teachers is to be persistent. As Wheatley (2015) says, “Teacher persistence helps foster effective teaching.”

If teachers don’t stick at it then who are the persistent coaches going to be? Who will help them learn to persist with difficult tasks and continue to try hard despite frustrations, obstacles and difficulties?

Professional persistence is the key ingredient to a successful and long teaching career. You might remember what Thomas Jefferson once said: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”

Okay, I’m not a fan of cheesy quotes but I do like this one from Bill Bradley:

Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.

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