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Friday, October 21, 2016

Express Yourself or Not?

Once an administrator said to me, "I don't know why you write those long emails." I replied, it's because I don't have the time for these long conversations and I feel the issues I raise are important.

Another colleague told me that she doesn't share her thoughts because it's not the best way--you need to be more politically savvy.

The Teacher Leadership Initiative and the TeachPlus online policy course focused on communication a lot to help educators know how to advocate for what they need and why they need it.

Advocacy, questioning, and idea share remain a challenging aspect to teaching and learning today. Often there aren't ready avenues or communication patterns created and used for this kind of share. The communication vehicles for this share exist in today's tech savvy world. In fact at MassCUE this week I listened to three educational leaders discuss how they optimize social media for share with all stakeholders to forward the teaching and learning possible.

I continue to write long emails when I feel an issue is important and I believe that the information has merit with regard to better programming, collaboration, and teaching. I also ask a lot of questions, and when I don't receive a response I may ask the question again if I believe the information is important to what I can do with and for students. I read a lot to make sure that my questions and share are not out of line with current research, and I actually readily embrace debate and discussion when others feel that my share is out of line with the research, good intent, or worthy endeavor. The bottom line is that I want to teach well, contribute in a meaningful way, and help the system where I teach continue to reach in order to uphold and better our excellent reputation. There's no reason why we can't be a "lighthouse" system since we have what we need to do the job well and can serve as an example for other systems and schools with regard to successful support and programming. Yet, I also believe there's no one way to teach or run a system successfully as it's important that every school and system respond well to the context where they exist. School communities and systems have to be sensitive to the people, environment, needs, interests, and possibility unique to their community--that's important.

I continue to believe that the more we are willing to speak up, ask questions, share the good news, and work together to teach and learn well, the better we will serve students. This, in turn, will help educators promote positive communities--the kind of communities that support our democracy with "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness."