About Lori H Rice

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade since 1996. She has a passion for creativity, learning, questioning and the whole child. Her classroom is a place of acceptance and celebrating differences.

I don’t know how your state is treating educators these days, but in my state, coming from my state legislature, education is constantly under attack.  Education is the current hot  button and there are bills discussed and passed daily to undermine all I do.  Common Core, AP classes,  character education, teacher tenure, and teacher due process are just a few of the items being written about and discussed with minimal or no teacher input.  Bills are written and discussed by elected officials who are being led by a personal agenda.  It is exhausting to spend the day meeting the needs of all of my students and then come home to update myself on the happenings in our great state capitol, but I must.

Last year I wrote an article on the untapped resources we have in teachers.  We take classes and are licensed to do the jobs we do.  We take continuing education  courses and read about our craft.  We study new research and methods.  Teachers understand children and how they learn from the countless hours spent in classrooms with every type of learner.  We have tried and failed and tried again until success was found.  We have not given up and we know more things about education and learning and children than we are given credit for.  If you want to know what works in educations, ask a teacher.

This is still true today; however, I feel it is time to get loud.

Teachers will fight to the proverbial death for our kids. Click To Tweet

We try methods and resources and ideas until our students find success.  We research and form hypotheses and implement methods, recording data and making observations to adjust what is necessary to make a difference.  Those outside of our classroom walls who are not the experts and having the discussions and making the decisions without us.  A very select few may be invited to the table, but our best work comes from listening to and working as a collective.  Think of the knowledge and power held in classrooms around our country.

So, although you are tired with stacks of papers to not only grade but provide feedback and record in your grade book; although you have meetings to attend and in-service hours to sit though; although you take home the troubles of your students and shop or  bring supplies from home to meet their needs, you have the time.  You have the time to be a voice for this profession you love.  You have the time to read more and learn more about making your voice heard.  Networking is a daily part of our lives today, get involved in the conversations.

Social Media:  There are great support sites for all types of educators with social networks in education.  Find one that works for you and get involved through a tweet up, group, or blog.  Facebook has TER, We Are Teachers, Elementary Teachers Know Best (there is a secondary page too) and other content-specific groups.  Twitter has amazing educators and groups as well such as The Educators Room, Google for Education, US Department of Education and more.  Follow those in education who have already started using their voice.  Share what you are doing.  It is our responsibility to explain the awesome things that happen in classrooms every day.  You are part of that network.

Decision Makers: Social media helps keep us informed as well as online resources today.  You can know which bills are being discussed and the people have an opportunity today like never before to be a part of their government.  You should know what is being discussed in your state on educational topics and write your representatives. Correspondences do not need to be long.  Introduce yourself, briefly share your background and expertise, and explain why you are writing.  It is helpful to include bill numbers and state specifically how you want them to vote. Wrap up with a quick thank you for your time and sign, including your home address. Your are the expert and your voice is important.

It is time for educators to get loud. You are the expert and you have the time to make a difference. We unselfishly go to battle for our kids every day in our classrooms, it is time to go to battle in a larger arena.  Share your stories, share your expertise and take the time to network and make a difference today.

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