Monday, November 29, 2010

Teacher Voices

We hope to finish up our series on Exceptionally Effective teaching with one more post on the topic, but in the meantime I wanted to share a website from the College Board that I find interesting.  It is called Teacher Advocacy.  Their stated goal on the website is as follows:
 To support teachers by highlighting the critical importance of their work and amplifying their voices in policy debates about educational reform.
Recently I have joined several colleagues in addressing our local School Board and Central Office regarding scheduling changes that have affected our ability to effectively provide a quality education to our students.  These decision-making bodies are in a tough place and are dealing with a difficult financial situation.  We have also been placed in a tough situation, having to make decisions that affect the quality of education for our students.  We are having to choose between timely and quality feedback, breadth versus depth of content coverage, distributed versus massed practice, and unfortunately sometimes between the welfare of our families and that of our students.

I respect the difficulty of choices that the decision-makers must make, but I hope that the difficulty of the decisions that teachers are having to make are understood by the decision-makers.  So far, I'm not sure how far our voices have travelled.  We've shared our concerns with everyone who can make a difference.  I go back and forth between believing that we've been heard and believing that we're being tolerated.  Either way, I am convinced that both locally and nationally the teacher voice is perhaps the most important voice (second to only the student) in education policy and reform, but we spend too much time behind our classroom doors.  That is one reason why I've shared the link today.  It highlights the positive side of education and the individual stories of successful teachers. 

Only time will tell if our efforts have made a difference in our district.  As difficult as stepping out and raising our voices has been, our students are worth the trouble.  I hope that all of our teachers, locally and nationally, will find their voice to advocate loudly and effectively on behalf of our students.


  1. Your post is very timely and hits at perhaps one of the reasons our teachers are in crisis. Not enough people in a position to help seem to care what they think or wants to accept they are potentially making things more challenging for the future. The school budget was clearly balanced by increasing demands and expectations of high school teachers. They are tired, completely overworked, and many are locked into survival mode similar to their first few years of teaching. They are doing 20% more work and getting paid the same for the past 3 years. One of two things will happen. Change will be made to help teachers out, or the county will probably start to hemorrhage good talented and loyal teachers. Did anyone important even stop to really consider what teaching one more class really meant? Hey guess what. It means education in the county was instantly weakened. What a sad situation.

  2. Thanks for the input. I get the impression that our struggles mirror the struggles going on nationwide from all that I read online. But another side of me wonders if the voice of the online community is a real accurate microcosm of the nation.

    Part of our hope in maintaining this blog is to provide a forum for teachers and others to share their voice so thanks for the comment.