Teachers Can Change the Narrative
In response to my original post, Evolving English Teacher posted a thoughtful comment. She wrote: "In recent years there has been a paradigm shift that privileges the absence of experience and expertise in the teaching profession to a model that assumes there is no discernible value in either advanced degrees or years of teaching experience. Why would anyone choose to stay in a profession that devalues these things in the long run?"
Her keen insight made me think of the ways teachers have been portrayed in public discourse since I entered the profession seven years ago. Either teachers have been painted as incompetent employees who rely on their unions to protect their jobs or martyrs who single-handedly change an entire school and its culture.
How do we counter this dominant but inaccurate narrative of our work? I think the answer resides in teachers telling and writing the stories from their own classrooms. The policymakers and public at-large needs to hear from us about our work, challenges, and things we are doing to meet those challenges with grace and humor.
There are many ways for teachers to tell their stories. You might consider starting a blog, contributing to a site like Digital Is, or even writing to your elected officials to share your views on education-related bills in your state. No matter the medium, it is imperative for teachers to tell their own stories.
I look forward to reading about the ways you tell your story as a teacher.
Meenoo Rami, founder of the #engchat weekly Twitter chat for English teachers, teaches her students English at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.