As the year draws to a close I’ve been thinking about refocusing Teachers Speak Up. While I continue to believe that teachers need to re-brand our profession with the wider public, I haven’t had much success making that happen, even on a small scale. Yes, people tell me the effort is important, and yes, they like to visit this website. But there are so many pressures limiting folks from doing the writing, or getting other teachers to do so. You know what they are, so I won’t recount them. But the options are limited, too, for getting teachers’ stories published in media that will be seen by the larger community. For example, I organized a roundtable discussion with a small group of teachers and editors at a big city newspaper. The editors seemed jazzed by the exchange of ideas, but never followed up, never even answered my later emails. This is not fun. I’m a person who needs some response and success in order to keep going.
I’m not abandoning this effort — but I intend to shift it a bit. This was helped along by a conversation with Sonia Nieto, a courageous, long-time campaigner for a more just and supportive education. I’ll seek to use teachers’ stories to encourage fellow educators to stay with good, meaningful instruction, in spite of the pressures that in many places seem to be undermining it. Teachers need this. Meanwhile, I will continue to invite and share stories of great classroom moments. But I will be putting more effort into identifying individual teachers willing to do this and helping them with the writing (to the extent that they need/desire such help). And I will continue to work on finding venues for sharing those stories.
So in that spirit, here are several such sharing opportunities. I hope you’ll take a look, either to consider submitting something to them, or just for your own encouragement:
- Why I Teach — where educators and share their stories and thinking. This is a branch of the Learning Matters TV education news organization. You may not agree with all that Learning Matters appears to support, but Why I Teach is open to your voice and your ideas.
- Talks with Teachers — describes itself as “Inspiring stories from America’s great educators,” a cross between how-to stories and reflections on teachers’ struggles.
- Scholars Speak Out page of the Journal of Language and Literacy Education — mainly a list of educators’ blogs. But you can propose to tell your story on it by contacting Meghan Thornton (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the University of Georgia.
Joyous holiday wishes to all!
Teacher blogs, Teacher Voice, Teacher writing