At the recent SCCEC conference I attended a session on Educator self advocacy. We talked about the negative impression that many people have about the education system. How can we advocate for ourselves? How can we get those in power to understand what we do and why we need to do it this way? How do we show the general public also? There are no teacher unions in South Carolina so we have to advocate for ourselves. One important way is to back up our actions with research.
I also feel it is important to not reinvent the wheel. By having a personal learning network (PLN), when I need to find information or a link to specific research, I am able to put the question out on my network for help. Many times, I know that what I do is a good thing but I don’t always know how to get our hands on the research that backs it up. Maybe I heard about this strategy or read about this from somewhere. Now I am actually trying to keep a database of the strategy and the resource where I found it. This way I can refer to it again and again if necessary.
Our state organization now has a facebook page and I recommended that we use this platform as a way to bring us all together. I think first of all we need to inform our members that we have this platform available and we need to start using it. It doesn’t do us any good if we have something available but people won’t use it.
I understand that we need to rant and support each other rationally but people will take us more serious if we can discuss problems more rationally. Then it is time to look for those people who can help find the research that can document the rationale for the decisions we make. If we can’t find a good reason for doing what we do, maybe we need to look at what we are doing and make changes.
Each year, our Child Action Network coordinator goes to Washington, DC to talk to legislators to advocate for our children. These are also opportunities to advocate for teachers. We also need to talk to our state legislators and present a positive picture of teachers. We need to get legislators and the public on our side so we can work together. We need to stop being adversaries and become advocates.
How do you advocate for your profession? Please share.
(Tomorrow I will talk about the session: Help! I'm an LD Teacher and I have a Student with Autism!)
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).