This is such a powerful song in Hamilton. Burr’s desire to be “in the room where it happens” is so strong and so understandable. Doors keep closing in his face. He keeps being left out of important discussions and times when decisions are being made.
It’s possible this song strikes me so much because I feel it too. As a teacher I feel great frustration at how rarely we are in the room where it happens. This can be as small as at a school level. Many principals and administrative teams do not include teachers in their decision making process. I recognize that including teachers is hard to do because we spent the great majority of our day with students. We do not have flexible schedules that allow us to be at meetings or ‘in the room where it happens’ when it is happening. It requires administrators to be highly thoughtful and creative to make it work to include teachers regularly. That said, I firmly believe it pays off in the long run to have teachers in the room. No one has a better understanding of how policies and decisions are impacting students and families than teachers do. As the ones living those policies and decisions every day, teachers’ perspectives are invaluable. However, not everyone agrees.
As you move farther and farther from students, including teachers in decisions becomes even more challenging. But that also suggests how much more critical it becomes. At district levels, state levels, and at the federal level, those in the room where it happens are often far removed from students and from the realities of teaching at that moment. Teachers are with students every day. Teachers interpret the curriculum and regulations handed to them. Teachers make those things: students and curriculum and regulations work together. Sometimes that’s a significant challenge. Having teachers in the room where it happens would improve education for all students, families, and teachers. That’s worth whatever it takes.