How to Advocate for Teachers

Teaching is an isolating career. I didn’t realize this until I stepped outside of the teaching industry into a new industry, and reflected back on my teaching positions. I realized I have been working and teaching in isolation the whole time: all of my 8 years of teaching experience have been me in the classroom, and me and the students.

15304795192_3480696de8_zOur profession does not feel very isolated to start, and it might not even feel this way for a while, but reality is teachers teach the students alone in the classroom. The students keep us company throughout the day, and they make it all worth it, but our professions are by nature individualistic.

Solution:  Advocate for other teachers.

Why is advocating for teachers important?sucess

  • To not teach in isolation.
  • To empower teachers in and outside of the classroom.
  • To build a community.
  • To create a positive environment in the classroom and school.
  • Increase effectiveness in teaching and learning.
  • To make a difference in education.

How to Become an Advocate for Teachers:

Take initiative & become a mentor: Many teachers, especially new teachers would really appreciate a teacher reaching out and offering advice, support or simply an ear to listen to. Reach out and offer your time to a teacher to provide advice, mentorship and support in and outside of the classroom. It’s important that the relationship here is fitting for both parties. So use your best judgment when it comes to reaching out to the right teacher, but usually teachers who are most isolated and do not have many teacher friends at school would really appreciate your reaching out.

Be Someone’s ChampionThis post by Shelly Sanchez is really inspiring. Becoming someone’s champion is about supporting and cheering another teacher throughout their learning journeys. I recently encouraged a new educator on Twitter, Elisabeth Bostwick to share her great ideas with the Edutopia community. She wrote a post that resonated with many of Edutopia’s readers, and I was so happy to see her amazing ideas and work speak to not only myself but to other teachers to be passed on to their students. You can read her amazing post here. When I started my journey to becoming a connected educator, it was very encouraging to hear kind and supportive words from my PLN. I think it’s necessary to pay this forward to other educators, to build and foster a supportive learning community.

Extend Resources and Support: all teachers are always very receptive to new ideas and resources, sometimes it’s finding these inspirational resources that blocks many teachers from trying them out in the classroom. We teach our kids “Sharing is Caring” and that is exactly what we should do to support and advocate for each other as teachers.

I love Valerie’s message here. It speaks to the power of words and encouragement of others to not give up when things get tough:

Share what worked for you, even better, share what didn’t work for you. Chances are by sharing these ideas you are helping this teacher not only become a better teacher, but you’re also reaching out and telling her “it’s okay, I’ve been there, you’re not alone!”.

Offer Help in building a PLN:  I have been a connected educator for almost a year now, and I can fairly say it has made me a better educator. Talk to your colleagues about how they can create their own Professional Learning Networks on social media.

Kris’s message here resonates because he was inspired by someone from his PLN, Valerie. It just goes to show the power of social media and having a great PLN:

Being a connected educator is not only about using Twitter and participating in twitter chats. It’s also about teachers believing in the power of their own voice. Help another teacher create her blog, contribute to an educational site, write a guest blog post.

And the best part? Share their work with your network!

There are many ways to empower and advocate for teachers. I have made it to be part of my teaching philosophy to do that as it helps teachers in need, it helps students in the classroom and helps me be a better person.

Do you love this topic? Or you are an advocate for teachers? Join us tonight at #profchat 8 PM EST to discuss it and share your thoughts! All are welcome!

5 thoughts on “How to Advocate for Teachers

  1. Great post.
    Building a PLN is critical to support for teachers. This may now be done profitably through social media where mutual affirmation can lead to positive growth and feedback.
    Also, consider joining a professional organization. For educators this will likely take the form of an Ed-camp or un-camp. For others a state or regional society will serve the purpose. These professional organizations provide a forum for presentation and informal support system.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I agree that teaching can be isolating, it does not have to be. I think your suggestions are perfect. I just started tweeting and blogging this year and find it very fulfilling to connect with educators from all over the world.

    A whole new world opened up to me once I became comfortable enough to ‘put myself out there’ and really collaborate with my colleagues. I think sometimes educators feel like sharing is bragging so we don’t share what’s working.

    If I was able to offer advice to myself as a new teacher, I would encourage making as many connections as possible. Gravitate towards positive, excited educators. Share, share, share and listen, listen, listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments Shannon, I totally agree it doesn’t have to be isolating. I also connected with educators almost a year ago and wouldn’t have it any other way. It does seem like bragging when we share, but I have started to be able to identify the difference between bragging to genuinely share and bragging to self-promote. If it’s thought provoking and can help others then it’s worth sharing.

      I love your advice, things to live by.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As a new teacher, this post is incredibly helpful and encouraging for me. I have been amazed by the community of individuals who give their hearts to teaching, but you are right in saying that it can become isolating if you aren’t proactive about staying in community. And I definitely find my fellow teachers to be my greatest resources! I learn more from them than almost anyone or anywhere else!

    Liked by 1 person

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