I recently had the opportunity to hear Kevin Honeycutt deliver the Opening Keynote for AETC2013. If you have never heard him speak, I highly recommend that you look him up on YouTube. He tells heartwarming, poignant stories which leave you laughing until your sides hurt or tearing up because they hit so close to home. While he spoke, I sent out this tweet:
This idea of sharing our stories has really stuck with me over the last several days. Stories...we all have them. How many times have we reminisced about how we should write all of these stories down? Teachers have stories of student successes, challenges, heartbreak, and triumph. With our lives in the classroon, we are walking anthologies of the lives we have have touched or been touched by. But, how many of us are sharing these stories? Are we taking the time to show the impact that our teaching brings to the lives of our students every day? Or, are we allowing someone else to author our lives...someone who is not living our life; someone who is so far detached they could not cipher all of the clues upon which we pick up from our students every single day; someone who is creating a work of fiction instead of a collection of memoirs.
The idea of "living out loud" came to mind when a couple of news stories were released this week and (per usual) "experts" weighed in on the ills of today's schools. How many teachers were asked their perspective? How many of our stories were being shared? None! I've heard many teachers bemoan that they don't have something important to offer to an already inundated information age. I strongly disagree. If we don't start sharing our students' stories, who will? Those "experts?" If that is the case, who will become the victims of these fictional tales? Our students.
So as we take some time this summer to reflect and begin making plans for the upcoming school year, devote some time to document and share some of these stories. We live in a time where there is a host of media where we can amplify these unforgettable stories. Tweet about them. Photograph them. Write a blog about them. Video them. Curate them into one easily "shareable" location. These collections become a living testimony of what our students are accomplishing, many against great odds. Reach out and connect with other educators and spend some time swapping stories. We are teachers and it's time for us to share our stories and live out loud.