11 Teachers Who Aren't Afraid to Keep It Real

May 7, 2018 12:00:00 AM


I have a confession to make. I used to hate the term “teacher voice.” Not only because it sounded like edu-jargon (Why only one “voice”? Isn’t there more than one?). It was also because so much of what I saw from teachers—on the popular educator blogs and in op-eds—didn’t feel real. Sure, the teachers had written it themselves. Sure, it shared valuable insights from respected professionals on issues of their expertise. But too often they just didn’t sound like real people. Maybe they were edited to be stuffy and professional? Maybe they were overcorrecting to combat all the folks out there who don’t really understand that working with kids all day doesn’t mean you aren’t a serious practitioner dealing with truly high stakes (i.e., kids’ futures). Whatever the case, I winced whenever someone said we needed more “teacher voice.” That is, until we started this blog here at Education Post. The teachers who write on our site aren’t just rock stars in the classroom, with all the acclaims and leadership roles to prove it (many in the list below are members of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year). These educators know how to be real. And the stuff they write just blows me away, week after week. And hey, since we’re kicking off Teacher Appreciation Week, what better time to appreciate some of the most popular of these “real” blog posts? https://educationpost.org/my-name-is-tom-ive-been-a-teacher-for-10-years-and-i-still-get-my-ass-kicked-nearly-every-day/ By far the most-viewed post ever published on our site is Tom Rademacher’s must-read for every teacher who’s either having a bad day or even a full-blown existential crisis. I’m pretty sure some of its pageviews are from teachers who just have it open in a tab in their browser at all times and come back to it regularly. https://educationpost.org/students-of-color-need-to-see-more-people-of-color-that-shouldnt-be-controversial/ It would be more than enough for a committed educator like Nate Bowling to focus only on his work in the classroom and handling the day-to-day of politics and drama that exist in any school building. Luckily, he also takes some time to educate the rest of us on what racism and bias mean for his students and for himself. https://educationpost.org/i-was-a-racist-teacher-and-i-didnt-even-know-it/ By any measure, Laurie Calvert is a teacher for other educators to emulate and admire, with National Board Certification and an esteemed fellowship at the U.S. Department of Education. So it’s even more impactful when she makes herself vulnerable and lays bare her own soul-searching journey to wokeness. https://educationpost.org/a-chicago-principal-dies-fighting-to-give-his-students-the-best-education-possible/ Marilyn Rhames needs no introduction as one of the original “real” teacher-bloggers. She has countless posts I could point to, but in this one she shows her own “teacher appreciation” for revolutionary Chicago school leader Robert Croston, who very sadly passed away this year at only 34 years old, only days after the historic school board approval of his years-long campaign to merge and integrate two Chicago neighborhood schools. https://educationpost.org/hope-teague-bowling-sets-me-straight-on-the-whole-white-women-in-schools-thing/ Tacoma teacher Hope Teague-Bowling says and writes smart things all over the internet—on blogs, panels, podcasts, you name it. But I particularly love this Q&A she did with Tom (the first teacher in this list). You feel like you’re in the room with them. https://educationpost.org/why-black-males-need-to-answer-the-call-and-teach/ A simple post that forcefully sounds the message for which Sharif El-Mekki is now known around the country: We need more Black male teachers in our schools. But in spite of his busy schedule of writing and speaking, he still shows up every day to lead a public school in the same neighborhood where he grew up. https://educationpost.org/damn-no-black-teachers-are-being-hired-this-is-crazy/ In this world of talking points, party politics and messaging agendas, it can honestly be hard for any of us to level our moral compass and remember what matters. Vivett Dukes has the enviable ability to center herself in her roles as mother, wife and experienced educator and always stay true north. https://educationpost.org/you-can-be-teacher-of-the-year-and-still-get-fired-for-being-gay/ It’s hard to pick a favorite or most popular blog post from Brett Bigham because he has become an important and vocal leader for so many, including teachers and families of children with special needs and the LGBTQ community. https://educationpost.org/i-never-thought-gifted-and-talented-kids-could-be-at-risk-too-until-my-son-said-he-wanted-to-drop-out-of-school/ I love it when educators take off the “teacher hat” for a moment and share from a parent perspective, like Michelle Pearson does here. https://educationpost.org/we-need-to-start-telling-the-truth-about-white-supremacy-in-our-schools/ James Ford has a way of being simultaneously provocative and self-reflective. I don’t know how he does it, but I always feel smarter after reading his blog posts. https://educationpost.org/it-doesnt-just-happen-at-starbucks-teachers-need-racial-bias-training-too/ If we’re going to bring people along to a more elevated place of race awareness and social justice activism, we need more glimpses into the journey that other advocates and allies are taking, especially vulnerable and honest truth-telling like this one from Zach Wright.

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