My Teacher Leader Manifesto

My Teaching is no longer limited to the work of preparing students for their futures. Instead, to be a TeacherI must also include working beyond the classroom to rebuild the profession and turn the country away from the abyss and toward a new day in education.

My Teacher Leader Manifesto

Teacher is the pinnacle title of civilization because teaching is society’s foundational activity. However, in American education today there is a nation-wide teacher shortage, a randomly selected teacher is statistically most likely to be in his or her first year in the classroom, and veteran teachers discourage their own children from entering the profession. The situation is unsustainable and education in America may fall into an abyss.

As an accomplished classroom teacher, I work at the membrane through which policy becomes practice. That gives me day-to-day experience with the impact that policy has on teaching and learning. Therefore, I will use my unique, inherent credibility to speak on issues in education and advocate for changes in institutional policy and practice that I believe will most benefit student well-being and the teaching profession.

My governing principles will be to:

  1. Limit my advocacy to issues on which I have direct experience and authority to speak
  2. Inform myself further by reading broadly and deeply on the issues I care about
  3. Encourage the growth and efficacy of the teacher leader movement by drawing attention to colleagues who exemplify great teaching and leading
  4. Fairly represent my views by highlighting the nuances of my thinking and the conditions under which my views are valid or mediated
  5. Appeal to adversaries, many of whom are teachers, in a spirit of understanding, compromise, and reconciliation
  6. Correctly characterize my adversaries and their views and support the fair airing of their opinions
  7. Leverage my advocacy by working with networks whose mission is consistent with my values
  8. Expect to be fairly compensated for my leadership but not use compensation as a condition for engagement
  9. Be human first by caring for my faith, family, and health before all else

My Teaching is no longer limited to the work of preparing students for their futures. Instead, to be a TeacherI must also include working beyond the classroom to rebuild the profession and turn the country away from the abyss and toward a new day in education.

August “Sandy” Merz III, NBCT

I’m surprised how fulfilling it is to put this into words and make it public. Whether you adopt mine, use it as a template, or start from scratch, I encourage all teacher leaders to do the same. And please share!

#myteacherleadermanifesto

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