Ep. 9 | “Protecting Teachers’ Boundaries”
Welcome to the Growth Over Grades Podcast where we talk about education ideas and topics that matter most to our SpacesEDU Educator Community. At the beginning of each new episode, I’m going to feature an amazing educator in our community. This week, I want to give a shoutout to teacher, author, and leader Bonnie Nieves. Bonnie is an active member in our community. She is on a mission to help her students love the learning process and reflect deeply so they can take what they are learning in class and solve problems in the real world. She regularly shares what she is learning with her PLN. Thank you for all you do, Bonnie.
Meet Tim Cavey
Another educator who regularly shares with his PLN is Tim Cavey, our podcast guest today. Tim is the leader behind Teachers On Fire. He is someone who has inspired me and countless others to continue to grow and share in our learning and expertise in content creation. He has over 20 years of experience as an educator and is now also in an administration role.
The Case for Boundaries
Recently I read one of Tim Cavey’s articles titled, Should Teachers Attend Student Performances Outside of School? It was a thoughtful piece that was about protecting the time that teachers have after school. I really admire how Tim uses his experiences as a classroom teacher and administrator to share in a respectful way that times are changing. Teachers have always worked tirelessly, but these last couple of years have asked even more from them.
There is a story behind Cavey’s blog post. Last year he sat with a fellow teacher in a conference where parents tried to say she didn’t care about their child because she did not go to a private event they were having. Tim Cavey leads by example and shares that with all the extra things teachers are required to do after school hours (think back to school night, conferences, programs, etc.), they should not feel pressured to attend more events.
Boundaries Help Student Growth
“At the end of the day, student growth and student learning is dependent on vibrant, well teachers.” Tim Cavey
In fact, Cavey shares that when educators implement professional boundaries, they are more likely to have energy and the capacity to be the teacher their students need.
Here are some boundaries he models & sets for his colleagues:
- Mental health days are sick days, so take them.
- Don't mark/grade everything.
- Create boundaries around your work time, think Parkinson’s Law.
- Don’t feel guilty for saying “No” to coaching.
- Don’t apologize for ignoring emails on the weekend.
When administrators protect their teachers and staff, they are doing so in the best interest of their students’ growth. The pandemic has added a new layer of fatigue to a teacher’s daily tasks. We hope this podcast helps you put boundaries in perspective and would love to hear if this episode helps you and your school community. Check out the articles mentioned in the podcast for more ideas on how to implement professional boundaries.