Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Are You Sharing Your Educator Voice? The 5 Ws + H to Getting Started.

When it comes to education in general, and teaching in particular, the story in the mainstream media is less than pretty.You’ve seen the disturbing headlines and titles that don’t tell the whole story like those below.

With Tougher Standardized Tests  a Reminder to Breathe   The New York Times.png

Fortunately, these days, user-generated content aka posts on blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media are more influential, remembered and trusted than what appears in the mainstream media.

Unfortunately, many educators never share the stories happening in their schools. The work of students and staff all too often remains locked in the classroom. As a result someone else tells the story for us. If you are ready to change that and start telling the story of you and your students, then read the who, what, where, when, how and why of celebrating and sharing work.  

Who, When
The who and when are easy. You and now.

So, what about why?

Anne O’Brien, Deputy Director of the Learning First Alliance, pointed out in Edutopia, that there are three reasons educators need to get better at talking about their work. They are:
  1. Policymakers often talk about educators, rather than with them.
  2. The rhetoric around public schools and the teaching profession is overwhelmingly negative
  3. The opportunity for professional advancement.
How do you get started? O’Brien shares these tips:
  1. Always be ready to share the positive things happening in your school or class
  2. Don't let your numbers do all the talking. Share success beyond test scores to shed a new light on how we view teachers and students.
  3. Learn how to accept compliments. Don’t minimize, deflect or deny. Just say thank you.

Now that you have the why and how, you need to know where. Here’s one idea.
  • Social media is a wonderful place to start sharing your successes.  Pick a hashtag for your school or class, and let the sharing begin. Post the hashtag around your school, on your website, and in correspondence. Print favorite posts and Tweets around your school or class to ensure the school community sees your successes.

What do you think? Do educators need to talk more often about the accomplishments of themselves and their students? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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