I began writing this post September 22, 2016 after many conversations and an email sent from the former superentendent of a district I hold dear to my heart, the place where I received my primary and secondary education and first knew I wanted to be a teacher. Fear of failure has kept me from posting this along with many other ideas and thoughts that have been swirling in my head. This has been sitting in my drafts folder for almost a year, and I just decided to place post today. I am striving to live without fear, choosing to spread my wings and tell my story, my way, on my own terms. I know that if I fall, I have so many who are there to catch me, give me feedback, support me, and help me get up again. I am also excited to post this because the person who ignited the anger that pushed me to first post this is no longer leading this district. They now have their second superentendent of color, and I am hopeful for the school district that shaped me into the educator I am today, first as a student and many years later as a new teacher. The lessons I learned there will remain with me forever. Seeing the direction they are heading in today gives me hope, and for that, I am proud.
Over the past few months, many events have taken place to cause me to pause and reflect. Turning on the television to see violence isn't new. Seeing bad news nightly isn't new. Racial profiling and mistreatment because the color of one's skin, personal beliefs, sexual orientation, or religion isn't new. However, the images and events I have witnessed in the last few months have hit close to home. The images of men and women being slaughtered by those sworn to protect and serve have caused me physical and emotional anguish. Before anyone says a word, I understand every policeman isn't prejudice. I respect their authority and believe their jobs are some of the hardest on Earth. Although I do, this post is not to "back the blue", but rather to think through how I can use my voice to make a difference.
Today, I received word that a person in authority and making decisions in my former school district gave injudicious advice to the students, faculty, and staff. There was talk that students in the district were thinking of using their united voices to stand for what they believed in, and the response was meant to stifle them, encouraging educators in the district not to support their efforts to exercise their first amendment rights. This person said the students "do not have a clue about all the implications of their actions". He then went on to say it was our job to ensure students understand why we respect "public servants, our flag, and other national symbols of freedom" as privileges we have in this country. As educators, we should teach students how to reach out to those in authority to build relationships and to "withhold judgement about public and private events until they have all the facts" because "positive change comes from proactive behaviors, not looting and protesting". As in this instance, people often do and say things that make me say, "What were you thinking?!?!?!" When this happens, I try to look through the lens of "They just didn't know." I can't say that I am an expert in the subject matter of helping students organize and use their voices. However, I am a member of EduColor, a movement dedicated to "elevate the voices of public school advocates of color on educational equity and justice". This group is full of experts in this area. In times like these, we need a source, a group, someone to lean on and ask questions when things are just too out of whack for us to make sense of them on our own. Connect with them. You won't regret it.
Today's Edumatch Tweet & Talk was FIYA! It was all about blogging, and I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would take a few minutes to dump the rest of the conversation going on in my head here.
The one question that's bouncing around in my head most is "Why do you blog?" Many people blog for many different reasons. I am sure mine will differ from others, but I blog to simply have a place to share my thoughts. There are so many things that happen in a day. Working with students, working with teachers, raising children.....I have so many meaningful experiences that I want to share with others. When something happens or an event triggers me to really think or become excited, I want to share with others, just like today's conversation. Blogging gives me space to dump my brain for others to see and connect with my experiences. It's a place for me to share my day, my life, my frustrations....sometimes all in the same post. I blog to free my mind, to connect with others who are not here with me on a daily basis, to showcase the amazing people in my life. My "why" changes often, but there is one thing that is true. I blog to to tell my own story.
During today's Edumatch episode, there was lots of discussion about how to get started and what we do to stay on track. I can remember writing my very first blog post a little over a year ago. I was fortunate to meet Shaina Glass via Twitter, and she has an amazing blog she posts on Tackk. After connecting, I knew I wanted to post too. She was kind enough to walk me through a few ins and outs using Voxer late one night, and my blog was born. That's just it! Blogging isn't rocket science for me. It's simply a journal that I get to share with the world. I don't really have a set schedule or time to post. I simply share when something in my head won't stop rattling around. Then, I open my computer and begin to type. I'm sure there is a better, more structured method to this madness, but this is what works for me. I'm afraid to place it on my calendar or set aside time for my first draft followed up by editing and revising because that will drain all of the unstructured fun of sharing for me. I have other platforms that require structure, rules, organization, and dates. My personal blog does not, and that is why I enjoy it so much. There are no rules. I simply get to share a piece of myself with others.
Perhaps you want to start a blog. Maybe you are contemplating if you should blog....or not. Do it! Do it! Do it! Yesterday, I attended the very first EduPassions Web Conference, and it was amazing! Educators from around the world shared their passions and goals as educators. The one thing that really struck me was that nothing truly starts for you until YOU start it. I know. That's pretty deep, huh. It really isn't! If you want to blog, do it! Take the first step by opening your computer and typing. Reach out to someone else who is already blogging and ask for guidance if you need to do so. However, you will never get started until you get started. Start a blog, and share it with me. I can't wait to celebrate your success!
I have been reflecting on the need for teachers to have a coach, someone in their corner to help them, show them the way, and simply be there. In a recent blog post, I recalled my first mentor, who was just happens to also be my father. Everyone Needs a Coach is a walk down memory lane to review the time, effort, and support he poured into me as a brand new teacher.
There is a need for teachers to feel supported, a need for them to have a place where they feel comfortable asking questions and sharing concerns. Out of this need, I partnered with a few of my PLN (personal learning network) friends to offer free monthly support for new teachers, New Teacher Voice, the third Saturday of each month at 10AM CST.
New Teacher Voice is a monthly conversation for "new teachers". This includes preservice teachers, teachers new to the classroom, or any educator who has been in the classroom and feels they need support. While our target audience is teachers with 0 to 5 years of experience, we are here to assist any educator who needs support. Know a teacher in need of support? Are you a new teacher looking for support? Register here for monthly support. Perhaps you cannot wait until the live monthly session for support. We also have a place for you to place questions or comments in order to receive support. The New Teacher Padlet is always available for you.
We're looking forward to supporting you! Join us the 3rd Saturday of each month at 10AM CST.
New Teacher Voice Registration
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