Teachers are upset. They are displeased with their work conditions. Here are details from recent strikes: Chicago, West Virginia, or California. The teacher profession is under attack. Teachers are mandated to teach very specific curriculum, expected to produce nearly impossible results, take all of the heat from a struggling system, and then are paid like dirt. Most teachers either leave the field, or struggle to figure out how to advocate for themselves. With so many things that are wrong, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the oppressive weight that accompanies the job. But awesome teachers know that change can’t happen over night. So instead of feeling miserable, they pick one thing a month (or even a year) to really advocate for.
What It Does For You
- This allows you an outlet for advocating for yourself. When you advocate for yourself, you feel happier.
- Brings awareness to the issues surrounding teaching. If the professionals don’t speak up, who will?
- Gives high emotions a productive outlet.
How To Do It:
- Encourage other teachers around you to keep working hard. Help them feel appreciated.
- Join a physical or virtual group that supports change. I personally am a member of the Badass Teachers Association. This allows you to stay up to date on current issues and helps teachers rally together for change.
- Consider supporting your local Union.
- Speak out within your own school. Talk to your principal and administration about your concerns. Ask them what their own hurdles are. Sometimes teachers miss what pressures principals are dealing with.
- Vote for policy makers who support education.
- Speak out and consider volunteering for potential policy makers who support education and are running for office.
- Advocate for your student’s needs. There are a lot of ways to do this: GoFundMe, Donor’s Choose, putting in extra time with a student, looking up solutions for their struggles, communicating with parents and other professionals for a student.
- Write or call to your local leaders about your concerns with teaching.
- Share your classroom success stories. Tell the public what is happening in your classroom. Get people passionate!
- Consider checking out the PIE Network. This groups helps get teachers in touch with local educational policy groups.
- Get connected with Competency Works. They provide up to date research and teaching practices that help encourage organic learning in the classroom.
- Education Reform Now helps gets teachers in front of policy makers.
Wrapping It Up
Teaching is hard. Change is hard. But being an awesome teaching advocate doesn’t have to be. Focus on one or two things from this list. Or join a couple groups, get to know them, and then pick one or two things from what they’re working towards. Trying to do it all will lead to more burnout and frustration. So pick something and make it count!
Let me know what you have done to advocate!