Tell Your Classroom Story
Your post a few weeks ago on Finding Your Voice had some great points. I think new teachers are reluctant to share their voice on any subject that pertains to their work in the classroom. There's an assumption on their part that no one cares or that no one is listening. Not true!
You shared this idea in your post and I was intrigued: In short, someone can feel confident with sharing his or her voice within the classroom, but be hesitant to share that voice and ideas with colleagues or with educators within a larger community.
Why? Are they afraid of ridicule or embarrassment by their peers? I mean I get it. It's challenging to put yourself out there! It can feel awkward but we need to dismiss the idea that the voice of a new or aspiring teacher doesn't hold any weight and find ways to support them to tell their classroom story and share it with a larger audience.
A couple of weeks ago you asked me this question:
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?
I don't think there's an easy answer to that question mostly because of the level of confidence that each individual has with putting themselves out into the world. You've been able to move past that boundary, Christine, because of the mentors you have in your life, and that's not true for most teachers new to the profession. I think it comes down to being able to give new teachers examples of how to share their classroom story first that will then build their confidence to bring there message to the larger education community.
Let me share three ways that a new teacher might use to tell their classroom story. These aren't new by any means but they are an easy way to share the experiences going on in the day to day work with students in the classroom that could lead a new teacher to open up to a broader audience.
1. Tell It With Video. Video is the most powerful medium at our fingertips. Using the medium of video to tell your classroom story is powerful. No need to use fancy video cameras or an expensive DSLR camera. Just pick up your smartphone, set it to video and record. Use it to capture the work, projects or events that are happening in your classroom. Find the ones that you enjoy and share them with your students and parents. Create a "story" with your videos using a simple app like Adobe Spark Post. This application lets you create amazing photo and video layouts for FREE! The process is easy to use and comes with great video tutorials. Soon you'll be sharing stories of your classroom with your school community and in time you'll want to use them to showcase your student's amazing work on the web! (Just be sure you have parental permission to share your student's likenesses when you're ready to post.)
2. Tell It With Instagram. Ok, I'm going to take a leap here and suggest that new teachers tell their classroom story using Instagram. I know that for some this may feel like a HUGE invasion of privacy, but actually, when done right it can be fun. There are plenty of teachers currently on Instagram telling their classroom stories through the power of this social media app. They're using their personal accounts to frame the conversation of what they're doing to grow in the profession and what activities they're doing in class with their students. There are lots of hashtags on IG that you can follow to see what teachers are doing, daily. If it feels too scary to share your classroom activities with a BIG audience at first, you can set up a separate account for your classroom and keep it private. Invite your colleagues, parents of your students, and students (if they're of legal age to use IG) to follow this account and start to populate it with daily or weekly posts that tell your classroom stories.
3. Tell It With a Blog. I started blogging in late 2009. I was reluctant but was encouraged by my good friend Shelly Terrell to tell MY story with a blog. It was challenging at first but as I reached out for help from other bloggers in the education space, I was able to begin to share my experiences from my work as a school principal. It led me to seek a passion to support and mentor new teachers with a Twitter Chat! With a blog, you can tell your classroom story in a way that feels comfortable. Blogging is an activity that's done in a casual voice. You're not writing a dissertation, you're simply speaking through your writing. There're many platforms that make it easy and once you get started you'll likely want to keep going. Not only that there are plenty of teachers on the web that would be more than willing to support someone new to blogging to get started. It's one of the best ways I think that a new teacher can tell their classroom story incorporating easy writing, fun images, and videos and become comfortable sharing it with the world!
So now that we've talked a bit about telling your classroom story where are you in your work at this point of the school year? How are your lessons going? What seems to still be a sticking point in your work? Do you have a good long-term plan to finish out the school year? I'd love to know more.