What do you do?

Last night I went to a benefit for scholarships for the college I went to as an undergrad, Colorado State University. It was a really fancy wingding with all kinds of people wanting to network and meet people. All the big names from CSU were there and it was a big deal. 

From my Peace Corps days, I’m pretty good at networking and making small talk. I don’t like to do it, but I can when I put on my “mama Nepal” hat (a term my friend uses). So I’m making conversation and people always ask, “What do you do?” I don’t know what it is, but that may be the best conversation halter that I know. The respondents’ eyes inevitably look down, or away possibly searching for someone else to talk to, to save them. It’s like once people know I’m a teacher they either do not know what to say to me, or they want to say so much and don’t feel they can.

I propose this is our fault as educators. 

We have not done a great job of letting people understand the complexities of our work. It’s like people think they understand it because everyone went to school at some point, but they really don’t. 

We have a PR problem in education, that’s for sure. We need to make sure people don’t only see the bad sides that so many people complain about and feel they need to legislate. We really need to advertise the amazing things that are happening each and every day in our classrooms. 

We need to invite community members into our schools. We need to write about the great things happening in our schools. We need to shout from the rooftops the accomplishments of our students. We are doing so many things well….let’s h age those conversations when people ask us what we do.


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