Leave a Light on For Me


Legislation, budget cuts, propositions, neighborhood walks, phone banking, Reduction in Force (RIF) notices, political action, national standards, evaluation, accountability. What do all of these words and phrases have in common? They have all been heard by teachers during their opening convocation ceremonies and/or campus staff meetings this year. (If I had transcripts of these meetings and put all of them into a Wordle Cloud, I’m betting that the phrase “budget cuts” would be the largest).

As I walked into my classroom for the first time this year, here are some things I heard from students: “I’m excited,” “I want to go to college,” “My older brother loved your class,” “I hear you use Google a lot,” “I’m interested in dual enrollment,” “I hear your class might kick my butt,” and “I’m ready for the challenge.”

It will be interesting to see how the smaller, more negatively connoted words teachers have heard from higher up the education food chain will impact the larger, more upbeat phrases they are hearing from their students. Though the educational climate is changing, the hopes and dreams of our students aren’t.

Will we be able to filter words like “political action” so that they trickle down to students in a positive way? As our states and school districts dash for cash, our standards and evaluation instruments are changing at lightning speeds. In this highly charged edu-storm, how will we maintain a positive course of learning for our students? As I move into week two in the classroom, I’m looking for a much-needed lighthouse.


Alaina Adams

Dr. Alaina Adams

Phoenix, Arizona

My name is Alaina Adams and I am a Board Certified educator who has taught a variety of English Language Arts classes in middle school, high school, and higher education contexts for the past 12 years. I am currently working as a leader in full-time training in the Phoenix Union High School District and love the new perspective it brings for teacher leadership development in my urban, secondary setting. In addition to working in an administrative capacity, I also coach teachers on my campus, district, and across Arizona as they engage with the National Board Certification process.
When not working towards total world domination, I am the mother of a teenage daughter, enjoyer of live music, and am an all-around text-messaging, Twitter-following, and Facebook-posting human being.

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