“If you are not advancing, you are retreating.” A quote from Four-Star General Oliver P. Smith. Teaching is not unlike war, in an abstract sense. There are many daily battles that are won, and there are many that are lost. Some of those battles are in the classroom, and some are outside of it. But it is a war worth fighting for. I am by no means comparing teaching to what our fine men and women do in the service. They have my utmost respect and gratitude. I simply mean to put a perspective on our current situation in education. Educators are a special lot. We will do anything for our students, that’s not a novel concept. I don’t think anyone would argue that point. But the one thing that often is overlooked by educators is what I call “professional responsibility.” I am the past president of Arizona Health and Physical Education(2019). An organization I admit I didn’t know much about in my early days of teaching. It wasn’t until I was well into my career that I became involved in the organization. When teachers ask why they should join I have to ask them why not? It is our responsibility as educators to advance in our careers, not retreat.
One goal of our organization is to provide appropriate and quality professional development for health and physical education teachers across the state. But, we also are in the business of advocacy. We advocate for our field at both the state and national level, helping to ensure our field is not marginalized and receives the respect and recognition it deserves. The Arizona Health and Physical Education Board and Committee Chairs are all physical education teachers and serve as volunteers for the organization. There is a lot of work that goes into maintaining the integrity of the organization, but all of us are passionate about our profession and ensuring the flame doesn’t go out. As recent events have shown, we all have to advocate for our respective fields. If we don’t tell our stories, someone else will, and it most likely will be wrong. I know all subject areas have their own professional organization. Math has Arizona Association of Teachers of Math, Social Studies has Arizona Council for the Social Studies and the National Council for Social Studies. Band ABODA and AMEA. I can go on. It is important for all subject area teachers to be a part of their professional organization.
A favorite saying of mine is that if you are not willing to be part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Talking about it doesn’t make it go away. Complaining about it doesn’t solve the problem. You have to take action, be part of the solution, come with a plan. If you’ve ever wanted to take that leap and be a leader in your field, now is the time, apply to be a committee chair or committee member. Being part of a professional organization is where your story can be told. A group of like-minded professionals waging battles for their field, as we have seen, is a powerful thing. It is time to ADVANCE! Become a member of your professional organization and speak up, be heard, and tell your story.
It is your narrative and make sure it is told correctly!
If you are interested in being a volunteer with Arizona Health and Physical Education, please (click here).