12 Aug #SupportTheCore = Supporting Our Teachers
Now, you might not be able to see right away why that is a problem, but imagine 25 tiny, wiggly bodies sitting in chairs all lined up in ridged lines facing the front of the classroom. Maybe in the 1800s, but it certainly wasn’t going to happen in my classroom. You see, I studied brain development and I know 5-year-olds. I know what they are capable of and I know what they are expected to learn. I have developed an expertise in that area and, as a result, I know the type of environment needed to help my students succeed. In other words, as a teacher and a professional, I knew what my students needed and I was willing to fight for it—even if it was something as seemingly trivial as shared tables.
While my teacher preparation program did not turn me into a fighter (I doubt many programs arm teachers for the politics and rhetoric surrounding education these days), we did specialize in children. This expertise has been reinforced by my time and experience in the classroom, with many students and personality types over the years. While we are not perfect, if there is one group you can trust to care about your child and do everything possible to ensure he or she will get the most out of the year in their classroom, it’s teachers.
Today marks a day where we can hear directly from teachers who will share real stories from the classroom about how Common Core State Standards are changing the dynamic in their schools. Regardless of how one might feel politically about the standards, they have started a conversation about raising the bar for our kids. And no one knows more about implementing these standards than those doing it—teachers. Follow the hashtag #supportthecore on Twitter to hear these stories. Teachers by nature are not “fighters,” but we are learning to stand up for the things we know are right for students.
That is what my current role at Hope Street Group is all about. I have the amazing opportunity to go beyond the limits of teacher certification programs and help teachers learn skills to stand up for what is right for kids. As an organization, we are very careful about “advocacy,” so rather than lead specific efforts, we teach teachers to communicate better with parents, the community, legislators, and other policy leaders. From there, we pass opportunities to teachers and support their efforts in advocating for improved education for our country’s students.
In a show of support for our teachers, today, August 12th, Hope Street Group is changing our Twitter logo and will be retweeting their stories and others. Politicians and pundits have been debating the standards for months. Don’t you think it’s time we hear what teachers have to say?
Wendy Uptain is an educator and currently works as the Director of Teacher Engagement & Training for Hope Street Group.