Who’s got your back?

Charter TLN member and organizer Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach offers an example of (and opportunity for) global teacher leadership in a recent blog posting she titles “We Got Your Back.” She shares the story of Australian teacher Al Upton whose school blog has been “disabled” by the South Australia Department of Education and Children’s Services — and describes some of the steps she and others in the edu-blogging world are taking to support Upton. “My take on what Al is going through is that it could be any of us and what he says and does from this point forward will be very important to watch.” There’s a link to Upton’s blog where you can read his very reasonable response to concerns about the content, which he mostly has to guess at.

“These are the roles of a 21st Century educator,” Sheryl writes: “Teacher as leader, Teacher as writer, Teacher as 21st Century literacy activist.”

Sheryl argues that today’s effective teacher leader needs an unprecedented level of communications skills – and the understanding of how to carry out action research so that your principled decisions about the best teaching strategies can be backed up by evidence.

What is most striking about all this, perhaps, is the unprecedented ability of teachers who choose to get involved to participate in global discussions about the best ways to use web-based technologies in schools. It’s really not about the “evil empire” — it’s about growing pains as the Internet redefines teacher and student speech and access to — quite literally — the world of knowledge.