Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Own Educational Reform

I’ve just concluded a week in Washington D. C. This week I had the opportunity to participate in Hill Day where I got to speak with 8 of Alabama’s nine legislators (or their staff). At the National Boards Professional Teaching Standards, I co-presented two poster sessions promoting the Alabama NBCT Network and the Second Life Network. I also had the opportunity to meet several Stenhouse authors and have my first official book signing. And I presented a session called “Empowering Students with Web 2.0” in person and virtually.

I knew that I was going to be busier than any other conference that I attended. I knew was I was going to get to connect with people that I’ve been connecting with for several years virtually. I knew that I was going to hear dynamic speakers like Daniel Pink, Diane Ravitch, Sarah Wessling, Arne Duncan, and Pedro Noguera. And let’s not forget about the amazing Save Our Schools March.

With all of these events, speakers, and activities, my mind has been struggling to find a single thought and lesson that I can take away from all of this outstanding professional development….I am on overload. However, as the conference was winding down last night a thought came to me. I need to do a better job of having my voice heard. That may seem strange considering all of the speaking, blogging, social media and PD in which I engage on a regular basis. But, as I was sitting in the final activity, I realized that I need to be better at practicing what I preach.

In my classroom, I am always encouraging my students to share their voice through their writing, their work, their projects, their collaborations. I listen to their voices grow stronger through the school year. I let them voice their opinions and guide their choices in the classroom. Shouldn’t I be putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak?

I think as educators, many of us have been threatened with our jobs if students’ standardized test scores don’t rise or if we don’t teach scripted programs to fidelity. Fear has been used to try to make educators compliant and time and again it has been proven ineffective. It’s ineffective because good educators are not doing the job for pay or incentives. We do it because we are passionate about giving our students the best education that we can… in spite of the challenges, lack of support and difficulties.

So although I do speak up on occasion, I plan on making a much more concerted effort to stand up for what is right for our students. I am going to show them through my example what it means to have your voice heard because they are the ones who are ultimately being affected. My legislators (and administrators) are going to know me by name and they are going to see the work my students do. There are many more educators than there are elected officials. It is up to us to be the voice of change. Things will not change by just talking about it amongst ourselves. We must speak up. Our students can’t wait. Who’s with me?

1 comment:

  1. I attended your session on Friday and really enjoyed it. I share many of the feelings you expressed in this post. I wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to change a few things in my classroom, but more importantly to be heard as a voice that speaks out for our students. I spoke out for them at the SOS march and now need to look for other means!