Finding Your Teacher Voice
In your last post, 3 Tips to Support a Reflective Teaching Practice, you shared tools that can support teachers with their reflection process. Reflection becomes even more valuable when it is documented and you can see your growth over time! Reflection doesn't have to be something that is kept to yourself, especially when you make big discoveries! Naturally, I tend to get excited about what I discover while reflecting and want to share my ideas with my educator friends around me and within my learning network. I know sharing a voice may not come easily for others and it is a topic I wanted to talk about.
Finding Your Voice
Lately I have been thinking about the process of finding and developing your voice. This process is not isolated to the education world. People who have dreams take on the path that it takes to reaching their goals, and in that there is a likely chance that they discover their voices along the way. Your voice helps you to shout out your ideas, stand behind them, draw people in with like minds to work towards a common goal, or in thinking largely... change the world!
As educators, our voices reach our students and their families, our colleagues, and even a larger professional world if we take them there! Just because new teachers are at the beginning of their education journey, doesn't mean they are the only ones in the process of finding their voices. Veteran teachers may be on the quest in finding their voices or have their voices established and are sharing it with others, and can even be helping support others in discovering their voices. The process doesn't stop when you have been teaching for a number of years, it only continues!
The Development of a Teacher Voice
When I think of the development of a teacher voice, the image of a tree comes to mind. Underground are the roots, which is where your where your foundation is in what has helped you to find your teacher voice. That is where your believers and sources of inspiration would be. The trunk of the tree represents what you have built in finding your voice; journeys that you have taken or things that you have done that have contributed to you discovering your voice. Lastly, the branches of the tree are the different ways you can share your voice with others. Through sharing your voice, you are standing behind your values. Also within the branches are the ways you support others in finding their voices.
Based off of my interactions with teachers from presenting in different states and facilitating education chats on Twitter, I have developed an understanding that their voices are stronger in some areas (such as within the classroom) than others (like within the professional development world). In short, someone can feel confident with sharing his or her voice with in the classroom, but be hesitant to share that voice and ideas with colleagues or with educators within a larger community. People have different comfort zones and that has an impact on how much projection their voices have. Confidence and trust within oneself also plays a big part in sharing a voice. These are important concepts to take back to our classrooms, as we work with our students in nurturing them to find their voices, as they share with their peers and help them thing beyond the classroom and share with the world!
Connect with Others and Share Your Voice with the EduWorld on Twitter
During my first months of teaching, I joined Twitter and discovered an EduWorld that I had no idea existed. There you will find educators looking for ideas, collaborating with others, lifting each other up, challenging each others' thoughts, and more! It is really special when you find a community, or a hashtag, where you can connect with other educators with similar passions or mindsets and you learn together through what is shared. Discussions tend to be sparked from people sharing their voices and ideas! TeachThought has a Complete Guide To Twitter Hashtags for Education that can be helpful if you are just getting started and are becoming familiar with hashtags. I am the founder of the #GAfE4Littles hashtag (Google Apps for Education for Little kids) and have recently joined forces with #InnovatingPlay. Some other hashtags I will follow are #KinderChat, #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate), and #KidsDeserveIt.
Not so ironically, topic of the chat I am co-moderation on for the #InnovatingPlay #SlowFlipChat is Finding Your Voice. Within the space of Flipgrid and Twitter, my partner, Jessica Twomey, and I are facilitating a discussion where we have been asking teachers to share and reflect on who has impacted them in finding their voice, how play based learning experiences help kids in finding their voices, sharing ideas of how to share student voice with technology, along with some other questions. The opportunity to share, learn, and grow together in community is open to ALL educators, regardless of your position or how many years you have been teaching. Come play with us and join the discussion on this week's Flipgrid or the #InnovatingPlay hashtag on Twitter! You can click on the Flipgrid at the bottom of this post to participate!
Lisa, there are many ways teachers can work towards finding their voice and take on the habit of pursuing their voices. What are some more ways that might help teachers to feel confident in sharing their voices and for teachers to get their voices out there in the world?