Susan Graham on Teachers’ Dual Lives

Susan Graham hit the nail right on the head in the comments section of my last post about Teacherpreneurs, The Book:

“I rarely invite people from my online world into my school because I’ve often trained myself to keep those two worlds separate.”

This breaks my heart for so many reasons.

  •  For Jose because he feels compelled to lead this “double life.”
  • For so many members do this community who have had similar eexperiences
  • For all the teachers who struggle with hard choices about whether to stay or lead or try to do both
  • For the squandered resources of expertise and passion when teachers feel compelled to choose between staying or leaving
  • For the personal sacrifices and potential burnout of those who try to do all
  • For colleagues who are robbed of a role model of professionalism in and beyond theclassroom

But most of all, for our children who needed schools that are grounded in policies formulated by hands on practitioner who see children not as statistical sample populations, but as real live little people.

How do we get teacher leaders out of the closet without leaving the children in the dark?

Because it’s such waste of resources.

Goodness. She’s right to ponder all those ideas. It’s a waste of resources, but it’s also endemic of a culture still nervous about educators in social media. We still need to push for visibility in times when we’re asked (still) to be meek and shell-shocked every time a new initiative comes out, or a set of test scores tell us we’re ineffective. Alas.

How does this fare for you?

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  • AnneJolly

    The visibility issue

    Hi, Jose,

    The idea of teachers pushing for visibility goes against a long-ingrained culture. The idea of teachers letting any of the “school secrets” out on Facebook or other social media probably strikes sheer terror in the hearts of those who work the hardest ot keep the status quo. 

    Obviously teachers have to keep in mind who we are and what we represent. When we chose this profession we doubtlessly knew that we’d be role models and be called on to represent the profession as professionasl.  But our professional role calls for advocacy – not mousey silence. 

    Teachers are the educators who must weigh in publically (and not just through their unions) on issues affecting schools an students. (Standardized testing is the first issue that comes to mind.) Teachers – the adults closest to the children in the education setting – should be the ones to write the prescriptions. 

    So how can teachers use social media to get the message out and collect support along the way?  I’m thinking about “Teachers Letters to Obama” on FB.  That works for me!  I think about posting some teaching experiences which can be safely shared and telling warm stories.  And I think about addressing issues like the standardized testing issue.  Posting information about what teachers in the school are doing (meeting together regularly in teams to learn more about how to teach in areas where the kids need them to be better teachers, for example.) Post the good, take issue with the bad, take a stand, and do it publically. 

    Yay, teacher advocacy!