The #1 …. (piece of advice to teachers)

Number One** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.

You are replaceable!!!!

Yes, that’s it in a nutshell. It is a HARD thing to learn, however simple and comprehensible on the surface.

I’ve worked and given my best in a lot of jobs. But make no mistake, I learned the hard way – we/I/you/them – all expendable and replaceable.

I’m fortunate to be in a position to be absolutely frank and to the point with teachers. Also, fortunate to be asked for advice at times. The greatest thing a teacher can learn is that despite their greatness, despite all they do, despite how much attachment they form to a class / a school – you can be replaced.

Be it a substitute or be it with a new teacher the next year or be it upon your leaving – you will for the most part, be forgotten. That’s the nature of things and your job is to be in the moment. Don’t seek immortality or being omnipotent. You will fall hard.

Tough medicine. Chew and swallow. It will make you realize what your place/job is all about.


Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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4 Responses

  1. Krista says:

    Awww nobody could replace YOU!

  2. ddeubel says:

    You are too kind! I’m doing my best to disprove myself but…..

  3. Harold Shaw says:

    That is what we were always told in the military you are here for 2-4 years and then someone will replace you. I have always taken that particular truth to heart, nobody is irreplaceable.

    I do however, try to leave where ever I am working better than the condition I walked into, I don’t believe I have ever left it worse :).

    Good post and a great reminder of how things actually are for those “irreplaceable” who have been in the same school for 20-30 years – they too will be replaced someday.

  4. ddeubel says:

    Yeah, it is a hard truth, isn’t it? There is a message and something positive to get out of it though.

    For each of us that message might be a little different I think. For me, being irreplaceable means to live in that “now”, as honestly and well as I can. Kind of like what you are saying.

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