As a teacher, I understand the power behind using our voices but I also know that speaking up as a teacher can be very difficult. The voices of teachers are something that we always need more of and these teachers in 2016 did just that with stories on why they were called to teach, how educators can continue to make a difference and some advice for their colleagues.
1. My Name Is Tom. I’ve Been a Teacher for 10 Years and I Still Get My Ass Kicked Nearly Every Day. Veteran teacher Tom Rademacher gets real with new teachers. He’s in his 10th year in the classroom and says it still hasn’t gotten easy but it’s worth it.
2. Why Black Males Need to Answer the Call and Teach In this post, Philadelphia principal Sharif El-Mekki sincerely asks, “If you want to have the largest, most sustained impact on society, why not teach?”
3. The Moment I Knew I Was Called to Teach And then, of course, we all remember that moment we were called into teaching. Teacher Amanda Austin reminiscences on her first year of teaching and all its ups and downs.
4. Please Come in My Classroom and Judge Me. I’m Serious. Teach Plus Commonwealth Teaching Policy Fellow Kevin Cormier isn’t afraid to talk about the need for accountability. Cromier writes about his
#ObserveMe experience—a campaign
started by teacher Robert Kaplinsky who posted a sign outside of his classroom inviting anyone to observe him at any time he was teaching, and offering three points on which he would like feedback.
5. Your White Teacher Is Woke In the wake of another police shooting of a Black man, Philando Castile, Maddie Fennel writes a thoughtful and heartfelt post to her students: “I promise…Your teacher is ‘woke’ and I won’t be silent.”
6. This Is Why Teachers Really Count Down to Summer Vacation Find out why teacher Monica Washington says teachers really count down to break: “Great teachers don’t count down because we don’t love the job. We count down because we do.”
Zack Barnes is a middle school teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in literacy studies at Middle Tennessee State University.