Teacher as Advocate: Off on a New Adventure

Off onto a great new adventure! This time, my dear readers, we are diving into another role teachers often take on. We have covered being a Teacher as Writer, which means that as teachers, we often practice what we preach. We did a genre study that nearly killed me, discovered how powerful words can be, and learned how to translate what we learned into the classroom. We just finished talking about Connected Learning, which incorporates technology and student interests into the classroom to create a better learning environment and to strengthen student learning. Now, we are delving into (drumroll, please)…. Teacher as Advocate!

As teachers, our profession is often viewed through the lens the media sets up for us. We are often seen through articles that only talk about one side of the story. We are often evaluated by our test scores and not our actual success in the classroom. We are so much more than that.

Teachers are on the front lines of the war against ignorance in our society, a role that is often taken for granted and ignored. When standardized tests come down the pipeline, school shootings terrorize our neighborhoods, and issued of mental health and special education arise, it is the teachers in the classroom, not the politicians on Capitol Hill, that catch the brunt of whatever is happening. Yet our voices are rarely heard.

Part of a teacher’s job (part of any job, really) is advocating for what we do. Why is what we do important? What gives us the right to claim that we make a difference? What can we do to help improve our school system in our society? What on earth makes our job worth doing? How has the media gotten it all wrong? Questions like these cannot be answered by journalists or newscasters or politicians or Facebook posts. It is only teachers who can answer with absolute authority. We have the opportunity to revolutionize not only the perception of our profession, but the entire education from the ground up. If politicians say something, it is taken in stride and quickly forgotten because, let’s face it, very little of what politicians say actually comes to fruition. Yet if teachers, the basis of the education system, the foundation of learning in America, decide to speak up, there is nothing that can stop us.

This new project centers on exactly that. How can teachers speak up and help change the image of our profession and how our education system is run? Change will not come from the top. We’ve tried that approach and it has ended terribly. Now we have to back to basics and start rebuilding from the ground up.

I have decided to focus on school climate and safety, what with the recent rise in school violence. Issues such as bullying, creating a safe and understanding environment, and general violence in schools have always been close to my heart. Right now, all the publicity has been focused on how Congress is trying to protect our schools. What about our teachers? Can we not have a voice, too?

So, my dear readers, the adventure begins. Stay tuned for more fun as we delve into what it means to be a Teacher as Advocate.

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