This week, I am fortunate enough to be a guest of the Colorado Education Initiative at the 100K in 10 conference in Chicago. For those unfamiliar with the work of 100K in 10, the overall mission is to "train and retain 100,000 excellent STEM teachers to educate the next generation of innovators and problem solvers". This is done by leveraging and coordinating the efforts of leading organizations working on solving this national problem from a variety of angles. Hopefully, their collective effort will be able to create a new generation of teachers who have the training and support to make this vision a reality.
While gaining insight on the work of the many organizations involved in this conference has been an incredible experience, I found myself desiring clear action steps I can take as a educator to promote productive conversations around the clear need to prepare, support, and retain high-quality STEM teachers. This led me to a string of conversations focused on promoting teacher choice and voice both in the classroom and in educational policy. I believe that as the face of education continues to change, it is imperative that organizations and educational policy makers include classroom teachers in the conversations that will impact their students. As a classroom teacher, I want nothing more than the opportunity to advocate for my students and ensure they have access to a quality education that meets their needs. The question becomes - How do I ensure that I get the chance to engage in the conversation?
During the PechaKucha presentation this afternoon, Dr. Chris Emdin offered a suggestion that spoke to me and my current Edtech interests. When asked about what educators can do to change the national conversation around teachers and the teaching profession, he suggested social media and blogging. He reasoned that even if only a small number of people read your blog, you are still finding avenues to engage in conversations around teaching that are often replicated in a variety of settings. Additionally, engaging in social media communities, such as Twitter chats, allows like-minded professionals to find each other and participate in a larger conversation. It is in these conversations and posts that teacher voice can become heard and shared with a larger audience. I believe that the conversation around education would greatly benefit from the insights and success stories of teachers. I agree that using the tools of social media can help teachers find a space for their voice to be heard. Perhaps, as more of us engage in the conversation, our voice will become louder and we can find productive avenues that allow us to positively impact students both in and out of our classrooms. Only by sharing can we get a chance to engage in the conversation.
Mattea Garcia is a passionate educator dedicated to improving instruction by utilizing technology. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools, instructional coaching, and educational equity.