I am pleased to post this guest piece by M. Shannon Hernandez. Shannon and I collaborate whenever possible because we share three critical characteristics: a passion to teach, being driven to engage children in learning, and an absolute conviction that teacher voices must be heard if we are to ever fix the real problems with education.
Shannon has started a weekly podcast about today’s classrooms you will find here: Transforming Public Education Podcast. Please bookmark it! It is someplace you will enjoy visiting, and contributing to the discussion!
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Teachers Have Had Enough!
by M. Shannon Hernandez
Shannon Hernandez, M. Ed.
Author | Education Activist & Speaker | Professor
I’ve been watching my social media feeds. Teachers are banding together like never before on Twitter and Facebook and using their voices to speak the truth about what is happening in our public schools. We are organizing ourselves for demonstrations and rallies, and we are forming advocacy groups, at the local, state, and national levels.
We have realized that there is strength in numbers.
We have realized that if an entire nation of teachers speaks, it’s hard to pin-point one or two “trouble-makers”.
We have realized that we share the same concerns and struggles from state-to-state, and that talking about it, publicly, educates the public.
Teachers have had enough. The evidence can be seen across the nation, as teachers stand up to the unrealistic demands that are being handed down to them from education policy makers and corporate reformers.
We’ve had enough of the testing, the scripted, fake curriculum, and the crowded, underfunded classrooms.
We’ve had enough of the lies—being told that our students can’t do the work, aren’t proficient, and don’t have what it takes to succeed in public schools.
We’ve had enough of the bullying—being told, over and over again, that we are “bad” teachers, and that the students are failing because we aren’t doing our jobs.
And now, it’s time for change. Because we know some things…
We know that our nation’s youth deserve the countless hours we invest, outside of our classrooms, to fight for what is theirs—a public school experience that exceeds their needs, and one that is filled with love and compassion, and is built on engaging, meaningful, and passionate instruction.
After all, we are the professionals. We are the people walking into our classrooms, day in and day out, building relationships with students, and inspiring minds to reach higher and think bigger. We are the very individuals who know exactly what our schools need so we can continue doing the work we have been called to do.
And yet, most often, teachers are not asked about the topics being debated across the nation. How is it that the very professionals who have been trained to work with a variety of learners, are never asked, “What do you think will make the greatest impact in our schools?”
And now…for the truth…
The truth is that our voices do matter in public education reform. We are seeing the results when we use social media to organize ourselves, begin blogging on our own websites, opt-out of the testing madness, or voice our concerns at the faculty meeting. There are numerous ways that we can continue fighting for our public schools.
I invite you to join another platform where your voice matters, big time. The Transforming Public Education Podcast is a weekly show which highlights all the wonderful things happening in public schools. It is a place where educators, parents, and students have a voice in what is working in our schools—and what isn’t. It is a show about public education which is rooted in solutions, inspiration, and above all, compassion and love.
The Transforming Public Education: Creating REAL Reform Through Compassion, Love, and Gratitude podcast was inspired by the many conversations I’ve been having with teachers, since releasing my memoir, Breaking the Silence: My Final Forty Days as a Public School Teacher.
It was inspired by passionate educators who know that we have the knowledge and skills and passion necessary to create positive learning environments.
It is a podcast show which demonstrates that many of our public schools are working and aren’t broken at all—but also recognizes that there is always room for improvement. It is a show which highlights that educators, parents, and students already have the solutions, and we will use this platform, as yet another way, to voice our concerns, share our expertise, and band together to fight for our public schools.
Shannon Hernandez is a college professor, former public school teacher of 15 years, education activist, and author of the book, Breaking the Silence: My Final Forty Days as a Public School Teacher. Shannon’s podcast, Transforming Public Education is a voice for educators and a cry for student-centered education reform. Shannon blogs passionately about public education for her website and The Huffington Post.