Dave Burgess uses the most amazing analogy in 140 Twitter Tips forEducators: Get Connected, Grow Your Professional Learning Network and Reinvigorate Your Career to implore teachers to use their voice to change education. Dave suggests that if someone collapses at a party and you know CPR, you don’t shirk back into the crowd. Instead you exclaim, “I know CPR!” And with an adrenaline rush and great pride you have the potential to save someone’s life.
What about teaching?
Think for a moment of the vast body of knowledge you have. From theory to methodology to classroom management to technology, to name a few. (I know I am barely scratching the surface with what we know!)
Teachers must be willing to proselytize what is working well—and what is not—in their classrooms, in their schools and in education as a whole.
Think about how amplifying a collective voice of educators can be and the impact those voices can have on each other and more importantly, on children.
We must value teacher voice so we can value children’s voices.
So where the teachers at? We can’t hear you!
Tip #127 in 140 Twitter Tips for Educators: Get Connected, Grow Your Professional Learning Network and Reinvigorate Your Career is important to read and believe. It needs to be a perpetual mantra. In fact, I find myself repeating “#127” in my head and noting “#127” on ideas and thoughts and noteworthy experiences. This blog is my biggest leap of faith with sharing my voice.
You see, I am one of those teachers who
thinks thought, “Surely everyone is already doing this.” Or, “No one really has time to try something else that I think is magical.” Or, “I’m sure people are sick of me sharing.”
And then I recognized this same thing in my classroom.
I asked a fairly innocuous question to my group of learners. I expected and hoped everyone would share a response. It was during a morning meeting and I asked, “If you could change one thing about the way you learn, what would it be?” As children started answering one by one, it seemed that there was a growing consensus of a few similar ideas.
And then one of my learners said, “I was going to say the same thing he said.”
This happens often, right? Learners don’t realize the power of their own stories. Their own ideas. Their own voice. Instead of letting this little one escape, I responded:
“Say it anyway.”
And she did. Her words and expressions were not exactly the same while the idea was.
And, get this. The student that shared the original idea responded, “Yeh. That’s what I mean but she said it better.”
Don’t we have the same experiences as teachers? I do.
I sit in meetings and collaborative discussions and often I hear my ideas said in a different way. Maybe it’s more elaborative, or concise. Maybe it is more global. More personal. Maybe it’s what didn’t work for something that did work for me. Or vice versa maybe it is something that worked that I struggle with.
So you see. Our voices are not always so different. But we have them. That’s why #127 is so crucial. We have to tell our story. We have to share our personal experiences. We have to tell our shared experiences. Even if we don’t think we have anything to tell. We have to tell it anyway.
Most of the time, our singular voice represents so many.
Sharing our voice, “telling it anyway,” doesn’t have to be complicated.
It merely has to be willing and intentional.
So how willing are you?
For those of you who are in the same frame of mind I was. Here are a few things to consider when you don’t feel that your story matters:
Being a reflective educator is paramount to your growth and it helps others evolve, too.
We all need people in our profession to help keep us real and keep us motivated.
Don’t share your story thinking you’re going to be the next New York Times best-selling author. Instead, share your story thinking, I matter. You matter. We matter.
Sharing your story makes you vulnerable. Being vulnerable establishes trust. Trust breeds strong relationships.
Telling your story makes you a better listener. A better observer. You have to be more aware of your world to tell your story.
You never know how your story will impact new teachers, more tenured teachers, people that want to be teachers and educational administration and beyond.
You have the amazing ability to impact others by simply sharing.
Erin Morgenstern says what I believe all teachers should believe in with regard to the individual stories we hold:
“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.” ~ The Night Circus
Share. Be willing. Be intentional.
If you don’t tell your story, who will?