We somehow mistakenly believe that teachers can only make a difference in their classrooms, their immediate sphere of influence. But there is so much more we have to offer each other.
Every teacher leader’s journey is different. Every teacher leader’s influence is needed. Every teacher leader’s reach is valuable.
Today’s teachers are called not only to teach but also to serve as ambassadors for public education.
Advocacy can be as informal as a one-on-one conversation with a parent or as formal as preparing public comments and testifying before a local school board, state board of education or other governing body.
These are wonderful quotes that I pulled from these two articles, and they are so incredibly true! As teachers, we can impact more than just our students. We have the unique opportunity to impact families, cities, states – but it doesn’t have to start at the governmental level. In a way, it is a grass roots movement because it starts with you. To be an advocate, it starts with your outlook on how you can impact those around you. You have a story, and it is valuable, and it can impact your students, coworkers, parents, etc. I so needed to hear this because it reminds met that I can and will be valuable as a teacher.
If you have been following along since the beginning, I have had my fair share of experience with political turmoil within my high school. Looking back now, I became an advocate, but I was acting as a student for my teachers and my fellow classmates. But I was an advocate. And it would like to think that I still am. I relate to Crabtree’s experience: I didn’t think that I had a voice, or that my voice mattered, but I quickly learned that it did. My voice as a student needed to be heard. Same with parents, teachers, etc. We all hold stakes in education, and as stakeholders we deserve the right have our voices heard. I think we deserve this, but we don’t necessarily reserve this right currently.
I also love how Cuthbertson reminded me that advocacy doesn’t need to be some extravagant move against the problems that we face – it can be an individual conversation. We can make an impact and that can happen in a simple conversation as well. This is needed, and I have seen this in my own life when my past teachers would talk with me. I had no idea that they were actively trying to be an advocate, and whether or not they would use that language doesn’t necessarily matter; but they were being an advocate for me. They chose to include me, and fight for me in ways that I didn’t see. This is how I can be an advocate as a teacher: by following the example my teachers have led out for me.