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- Adapting Was in The Teacher's Job Description - January 20, 2022
- Instructional Roadblocks? Shifts in Point-of-View Can Help Reveal Viable Solutions - January 20, 2022
- Opinion: Not To Be Denied: I Was Denied Inclusion as a K-12 Student, Here's How I Found My Voice - January 18, 2022
- Abbott Elementary: The Dreaded Teacher Wishlist-Episode 3 - January 12, 2022
- The Gifted Child Checklist: They Come in All Varieties - January 7, 2022
- A Teacher Lost in the Dust - January 7, 2022
- Abbott Elementary: When New Teachers Want to Save the World- Episode 2 - January 4, 2022
- Abbott Elementary is the Comedy You Need In Your Life - January 4, 2022
- 9 Fresh Voices in Education You Need to Hear in 2022 - December 28, 2021
As the year winds down, it's important for educators to continue to use their voices to help amplify the voices of those in the trenches. From classroom teachers to retired educators- these are the voices we want to hear more from in 2022.
Deidra Fogarty- Founder of Black Girls Teach
Black Girls Teach is a resource for black women educators who have navigated the social, mental, and political realms of teaching in the classroom and Deidre is the voice behind their movement. From empowerment circles to conferences- this organization is poised to fill a void that is needed in schools across America.
A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Deidra is an educator, literacy consultant, and entrepreneur who has worked in education for 15+ years in various capacities. Her natural ability to take the initiative and positively influence others earned her several leadership roles in the Washington Metropolitan area. After a decade of working in education and frustration with its current state, Deidra decided to make a pivot in her career, entering back into the classroom as a teacher. She used her return as an opportunity to develop her craft by working with students who needed the most academic support. The new setting and role offered a happier mindset that allowed her to use her time to focus on other passions, such as diverse children’s literature, supporting teachers, providing resources literacy to parents, and bringing awareness to current urban education issues. She, along with her sister, launched a successful subscription service called WAM! Book Bundle, where she provides a selection of diverse children’s books to parents and educators monthly.
What lessons did you learn about education in 2021? In May of 2021, I resigned from my position as an educator and decided to transition into full-time entrepreneurship. Working in education for the past 15 years in sometimes toxic environments impacted my mindset. I had to let go of some of the limiting beliefs about my time, the value I bring, and being okay with putting a price tag on my services and thought leadership. I learned that to be successful in this phase of my life I had to invest in the areas where I needed help instead of doing everything myself. Sometimes, as educators, we have normalized doing whatever it takes and martyrdom simply because we are passionate about what we do. You can be passionate and ask for help. You can be passionate and set boundaries. You can be passionate and not do every single thing for free.
What are you looking forward to in 2022? I am looking forward to working with educators in our membership community, The Empowerment Circle. In addition, I am excited to bring on two additional BGT Coaches to work with our members. I am looking forward to partnering with schools and teacher prep organizations to get to the root of teacher retention. In addition, I am looking forward to spending more time reading, writing, and living in my purpose.
Jeremy S. Adams, Author Hollowed Out: A Warning about America's Next Generation
From working as a highly decorated Social Studies teacher to winning numerous teaching awards all while writing several books, Jeremy S. Adams is a voice to be reckoned with as he writes from a perspective that is raw, real, and rooted in the classroom.
Jeremy S. Adams is a high school and university teacher living in Bakersfield, California. He and his writing have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Educator's Room, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Washington Times, New Discourses, C-Span, The DailyWire, and numerous national education podcasts. He has won numerous accolades for his teaching and writing efforts including the 2014 California State Teacher of the Year Award (Daughters of the American Revolution), the 2012 Kern County Teacher of the Year Award, was a 2013 semi-finalist for the California Department of Education's California Teacher of the Year Award, and was a finalist in 2014 for the Carlston Family Foundation National Teacher Award. He was recognized in 2014 by the California State Senate for his achievements in education. He was a 2018 CSUB (California State University, Bakersfield) Hall of Fame inductee--the first classroom teacher ever inducted in the history of the school. He is also an educational speaker and has spoken to large education groups and conferences across the country.
What lessons did you learn about education in 2021?: Expect the unexpected. Remember the kids will forget content but they will remember how you treated them in a difficult time like this one.
What are you looking forward to in 2022?: I know it is unfashionable to say a return to normalcy. But give me a normal classroom and normal activities and let me see what we can do. We have to relearn our professional muscle memory.
Erica Wortherly, LCSW from Teach Whole
If you've attended a Teacher Self-Care Conference then you've met Erica- a passionate advocate for teacher mental health. Read more about her work on teacher mental health and she spends her days advocating for more. Here's more about her why.
The reason I help teachers become change agents in their schools and community is that they spend as many daytime hours with children as parents and I believe teaching them about mental health, related issues, and how it translates to emotions and behaviors of both students and teachers is overdue. Many in the school system are overwhelmed and feel unsupported when it comes to student behavior. So much focus is placed on scores and data that signs and symptoms of developmental and emotional challenges are overlooked or dismissed. Once educators and students are seen for more than what they produce, they will become more confident in reaching their true potential.
What lessons did you learn about education in 2021? There is always more to learn. One must maintain an open mind to recognize the lessons in every situation and tie them to the end goal: meeting the needs of the people. Students and educators are people, not just data points. In the past several years, ‘the system’ has moved away from that fact. I’ve learned to be intentional about focusing on individuals more now than ever.
What are you looking forward to in 2022? I am looking forward to promoting and supporting resilience among educators while acknowledging their humanness by helping them define what it means to be whole and well.
Mrs. Turquoise LeJeune Parker, teacher from Durham Public Schools
There are advocates and then there are advocates who are on the ground floor of change in education. Meet Turquoise LeJeune Parker, a proud Union teacher and HBCU graduate who's focused on changing how educators teach children.
If you've watched the news lately about an educator who feared one of her students going hungry over the break and now raises thousands of pounds of food to combat this, then you've heard of elementary teacher Turquoise LeJeune Parker. Parker, now a library teacher for 387 students at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham, N.C. recently raised, $106,000 was raised through fundraisers, a charitable foundation, and social media. It was enough to help every child at 12 elementary schools in her school district not go hungry.
What lessons did you learn about education in 2021? Medicaid Expansion has not happened -There has not been a Cost of Living Adjustment for our retirees-ALL educators have not gotten a raise-Black Lives (still and always) Matter.
What are you looking forward to in 2022? Medicaid Expansion -A cost of living adjustment for retirees -A significant pay raise for ALL educators -Racial and Social in always, every day
Thomas Courtney, teacher San Diego Unified School District
Thomas is a force to be reckoned with as he tackles how to change policy to change the lives of teachers and students across the state of California.
Thomas Courtney is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus California Senior Policy Fellow who teaches 5th grade at Chollas-Mead Elementary School in San Diego, where he has been honored with the teacher of the year on three occasions. Thomas is a Fulbright Fellow with the U.S. State Department's Teacher for Global Classrooms and writes regularly for The Educator's Room.
Tamara Russell from Mrs. Russell's Classroom
If you've heard the words, "pandemic pedagogy" then likely they were coined from Tamara Russell an elementary teacher in Flordia who spends numerous hours giving the world a glimpse into what's like to teach during a global pandemic. You can find her writing for The Educator's Room or her own blog found at http://tamaravrussell.com/.
Today I am a third-grade teacher in a public school here in Central Florida. When I am not teaching, I travel often to train other teachers. I am most passionate about teaching for high engagement, using standards-based teaching and rubrics to improve growth and teaching writing. If you would like more information about my professional credentials or would like me to come to your school, feel free to fill out the contact me section and I’ll get back to you!
What lessons did you learn about education in 2021?"I learned that there is freedom in telling the truth about teaching during the pandemic and that when collectives of teachers work together, change can occur for the better."
What are you looking forward to in 2022?
"I am looking forward to wrapping up my 25th year in the classroom and designing new PD for the fall."
Michele Lamons-Raiford, The Educator's Room
In a world where many educators have to pick their careers or the truth, Michele Lamons-Raiford has been documenting 2021 as the hardest year of her career. A career educator in California, she's primed to take the lead as an emerging voice in education. She writes regularly for The Educator's Room while focusing on changing policy to change education.
Michele Lamons-Raiford is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus California Policy Fellow. She teaches American Sign Language at Pinole Valley High School and is the co-leader of the New Teacher Mentor Group. She previously taught English at Pinole, and currently is an adjunct English Instructor at Solano Community College. Michele was awarded the Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America Award, and Top Ten Claes Nobel Educator of the Year from The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). She was previously the Tournament Director and is currently the Vice President of the Golden Gate Speech Association. Michele has a BA/MA in English Literature from California State University, Sacramento, and a Teaching Credential from California State University, Hayward (East Bay) in English Literature and Composition, with a Supplemental Teaching Credential in American Sign Language.
What lessons did you learn about education in 2021? I have learned more lessons about education in 2021 than I have in over 20 years of teaching. I could write an entire article on lessons learned, but I will just list a few. All of my lessons are centered around the theme of having the ability and willingness to "shift". We need a shift to both a student-centered and teacher-centered focus in education. We need a shift to a better focus on the mental health of not only students but teachers as well. We need a shift to truly valuing relationships over rigor while learning how to simultaneously maintain rigor as well. Lastly, I need to have a personal shift to learning how to have more grace and mercy not only for students but for myself.
What are you looking forward to in 2022? In 2022, I am most looking forward to applying the many lessons learned, as well as more consistency in education as a whole. Quarantines, vaccination mandates, and the ever-present possibility of transitioning back to virtual learning have had us all in a state of uncertainty. In no way do I want to go back to "business as usual", but it will be nice to at least be able to have a clearer direction and better peace of mind when it comes to the next school year.
Madison Woodward , The Educator's Room
You don't hate teaching, you hate your school- that's just one of the pieces Woodward has written this year to bring voices to the voiceless in the classroom. As a new(er) teacher her experiences are focused on discussing equity while remaining focused on highlighting her craft. Watch out for Madison- she'll do great things in education.
Madison is a teacher at a public alternative high school for students with severe behavioral concerns. She has become an advocate for marginalized students and equity in education since entering alternative education. During the day she teaches high school history, and at night she is a part-time GED instructor.
What lessons did you learn about education in 2021? Personally, I learned that there is always work we can be doing to improve our practices at the classroom, school, district, and national level. I spent a lot of the last three years feeling as if I was approaching this goal of "fixing" things in my classroom or on my campus, but the reality is as educators we are perpetually working toward those goals. There are endless factors to what makes a successful education system and the shifts we want to see have to start somewhere. It's about chipping away every day, and looking back to see all the progress we have made, and then getting back to work.
What are you looking forward to in 2022? I am looking forward to digging deep into how we can disrupt the status quo: I want to reflect on how we move forward with all the wisdom we have gained through the last two years of the pandemic, remote learning, and political influences on education. I think the pandemic has become the backdrop in education rather than the focus, but the reality is that the pandemic has fundamentally changed things going forward. Even as remote learning and mask mandates will fall by the wayside, we have to continue to adjust to our students as they recover from the trauma and learning loss of the last couple of years. This is something we will undoubtedly see the impact of for years to come, and we need to be prepared to adapt and innovate to what our students need again and again.
Ruben Brosbe , Medium
Ruben is a former NYC public school teacher, NYC Teaching Fellow, & 2012 graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education who is never afraid to address class, privilege, and outright racism in public education. He blogs regularly at Medium and occasionally at The Educator's Room in a voice that's empathetic yet, clear- equity can't wait. From topics focused on organizing to mental health, he's a voice to watch in 2022.
What lessons did you learn about education in 2021? 2021 confirmed two lessons I'm always re-learning. Firstly, teaching is built on relationships. When I was stuck teaching online and contending with so much trauma, I needed to focus on my relationships with my students more than ever. Secondly, teaching doesn't happen in a bubble. Our work is affected by the physical and mental health of communities. Our education system is interconnected with our healthcare, housing, and electoral systems. As teachers, we want to prepare our students for the future. But without social justice, that future is in danger, and the work we strive for is incredibly fragile.
What are you looking forward to in 2022? I think educators hit our limits in 2021. I'm looking forward to teachers reclaiming their agency and building power with our colleagues and with our larger communities. 2022 has to be the year teachers collectively say no to the forces that are degrading education and harming our communities. In 2022, we will lift our voices to advocate for necessary changes in education and beyond, great things can happen