9 Comments

  1. Couldn't agree more George. You have outlined many of the issues I hope to begin to address in September when we return for the new academic year here in England. I have already talked to staff about the need for us to engage more in professional learning and professional dialogue, to look at the language of learning and become more informed about current pedagogy and thinking. I am currently thinking about how we might fully involve parents and governors. Many thanks for the post.

  2. We must be on the same brain wave. While I'm in the school counseling sector of education, school counselors experience similar frustrations about how they are perceived and about justifying their worth. Just last week I created a site for member of the school counseling community to "story" about how they create positive change. For many of the same reasons that you mention here, after being bombarded with negative media attention and long, hard days at work, there's got to be a place to feel heard, get connected and remember why we chose to do what we do in the first place. There's got to be a place to tell our stories. Feel free to check it out and comment. It's targeted at school counselors but we welcome all educators. http://sconlineprofessionalexchange.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for your post. I'm glad to be in good company.

  3. Great Post!!! This has been my goal as a teacher and technology integration specialist for the past year and a half! I can remember the day I looked over the technology standards and realized how much is expected of our students. I was naively excited to see how much our learners can utilize technology for discovery, inquiry, and a platform to showcase learning. I immediately contacted our IT Director and Superintendent and was thrilled to believe that everyone was on board and ready for this to be implemented in our school. Unfortunately, my superintendent seemed to be the only one passionate about this. The rest of the story in a very rocky road which helped me grow into a more realistic educational advocacy leader. There are teachers who are stressed with test pressures, teachers who fear change, teachers who dislike technology, budgetary cuts, fear of social networking issues, fear of allowing students access to websites, fear of inappropriate technology use, fear to speak out for change, fear of challenging administration, fear, fear, fear. How can we alleviate fear, pressure, and burn out. I personally was attacked on occasion for my technology advocacy for students. I gained distrust by some co-workers misunderstanding my motives. I irritated IT staff with my firewall issues and permission to video conference and have access to educational websites such as epals, teachertube, youtube, NASA, wikispaces, etc. It may sound like I was bullied or it may sound like I was a pest. Either way I finally realize that without proper professional development, administration training on tech standards and implementation, research on problem based learning and test scores, proper online netiquette and enforced consequences resources for students and teachers, that I was going to have a rough time advocating anything. I changed my direction to research, PBL design, and national and local lobbying while creating a positive technology infused classroom that I hope will someday be looked upon as inspirational to others. I create PD and units that is utilized across the globe. My voice is heard somewhere and hopefully, in due time, it will be utilized in my district. Advocacy can be a very tough skinned road to take! Advocates have no room for fear! Advocates need to be an example. Advocates are role models! Advocates face challenges and criticism with their head held high! Technology is not the reason for advocates bravery! Being an example to children to lead, learn, problem solve, and collaborate…..THAT IS THE MISSION! Our children face adversity, bullying and stress daily. Show children how to rise above and never cave in to peer pressure! Teachers are role models! Therefore, it is our duty to advocate for our students educational needs! I always like to ask teachers…"What did you teach your students today?" Perhaps division, history, vocabulary, etc. My answer is: "My students saw me learn something new at the NASA website, my students saw me laugh at a mistake I made, my students heard me explain to my principal why it is important to allow a live conference with a scientist to ask questions, my students saw me problem solve how to fix a broken website link, my students saw me shrug off an unprofessional comment by an unconvinced teacher and continue doing exactly what I believe is right for my students, my students watch my joy of learning, questioning, and discovery. Life skills! Technology infusion possibilities are just the icing on the cake. My students and children need me to be their voice and role model. Knowing that makes advocacy easy! Every little success I have helps my students see that standing up for what is right can work! Our future leaders depend on us! It is a teachers duty to be their role model for success!

    All your questions hopefully are answered when you ask them differently. When should students stand up for what is right? I hope your answer is ALWAYS! Teachers need to share, post, collaborate, and role model ALWAYS! Good times and bad!

    Thanks for letting me advocate once again!

  4. Hatcherelli

    George, your ability to put thoughts into words amazes me! You bring up a great point…as educators, we are our own worst enemies. How many times have you heard someone say, "I'm just a teacher"?

    As teachers, we have a profound affect on our students and their lives. Teaching is a challenging and demanding vocation which is definitely not for everyone. We need to advocate for ourselves. Maybe through media such as blogs, etc. we can tell some of the stories that you refer to.

  5. Esmé Comfort

    Great post George. Teachers who are advocates also model this for their students. At our school board meetings, teachers are invited – encouraged – to present their stories, usually together with their students. They explain how what they are doing speaks to the vision, mission and goals of the district. They will talk about their learning as they moved through an initiative, the missteps, how they adjusted, what comes next. These sessions are a powerful inspiration to continue to work to develop the community of trust, respect, innovation and lifelong learning we aspire to… we are still trying to find the best way to bring the parents in, to get them the information they need. There's no one easy way but it is a key part of the puzzle.

  6. marcilaevens

    I had to laugh…my mom got the "typing award" when she was in grade 12 and spent most of her working life as a school secretary.
    "When I was in school" I was good at sports. The only jobs I saw in sports were professional athletes and PE teachers. Well, I knew I wasn't going to be a professional athlete so… Don't get me wrong, I love my job. But yes, these are very different times. There are so many jobs available now that weren't even possible 20 years ago.
    I think with the new(ish) focus on teacher blogging, we are going to get our stories out there more. We just have to keep reflecting and posting. I don't want to be "just a teacher"

  7. Alissa

    Whew…time does fly-a new design for aerodynamics is necessary :-) Your comment, "When moving forward with new initiatives in schools, I believe we need to make available research and literature to our school communities." hit one of my own beliefs. Often we (the school staff), may know the blueprint of where they are going based on recent research- but do the families? Some would feel that "justifying" educational directions shouldn't be questioned when put forth by "qualified personnel". My feeling is the opposite. Qualified personnel have been given the opportunities and information from the most current reliable sources on best practice, but that is all it is until it is shared and demonstrated with those that will make the biggest difference….the families. While at a course I attended this summer, a group of us discussed how "teacher lingo" set us apart from the learning communities we work with. We have so many mediums available to us today to share our learning with families and to gain support in our learning community directions. e.g. blog, email, website, newsletters and presentations. Sharing the direction and rationale=more learning pathways for learners. Thank you for beginning the conversation :)

  8. Heather Peters

    Wow, I am shocked and saddened to hear that many teachers don't feel respected as professionals in their profession. The role teachers play in creating future learners, contributing members of society, helping others… Shocking. Not to mention the educational requirements and continual learning. I'd be very interested to know about the background of your group – are they new or older teachers, feeling frustrated, could the perceived lack if respect be from something else? Perhaps from my naive perspective I haven't seen this. But your advise is great, be proud, share what it is that teachers do articulate the goals / mission, measure how we achieve it. Share the stories – create more awareness.

    Great blog – very thought provoking.

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