School & District Management Opinion

Why Does “MY” Voice Matter?

By Starr Sackstein — February 04, 2016 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Too often teachers exclaim, “I’m JUST a classroom teacher; why does MY voice EVEN matter?”

And the simple answer is because it does.

Each one of us has a unique perspective that carries with it experience and learning that begs to be shared.

By nature, teachers want to give but often put themselves in a position where their own voices are drowned out by those around them:

It can be the bellowing sound of student voice (which is certainly important.) And when we advocate for student voice, we are often putting ourselves in the position to mute our own story, somehow suggesting a lack of importance. Perhaps one way to give our students more voice is speak for them in our adult spaces, providing them opportunities to authentically share and model what that can look like by doing it first.

It can be the voice of our administrators telling us to hush up with the many initiatives that are implemented. Although they never directly say don’t speak up, the suggestion of such is more than just a quiet effort. The message of the school (which is also certainly important), seems to be more salient than the individual teacher. After all, we are better together.

Arguably, the mosaic of individual voices are the fabric of these communities which then becomes the fabric of the American educational system. Every teacher has an important obligation to be a part of this thread, sharing the joys, successes, challenges and failures of his/her independent learning environments. Inviting others to share, and connect making what we do an elaborate collaborative effort rather than an isolated challenge.

Here are some ways we can get our voices heard:

  • Not on Twitter? Sign up now! If you need help, email me directly and I’ll help you. Being on Twitter is a way to connect with other educators and quickly share, and gather amazing resources. Twitter is one way to get your story heard in short tidbits at your convenience. Jump on a chat for more specific resources and sharing.
  • Afraid to blog? Share your voice on a blog. There are a lot of ways to blog now, for free or for the more advanced on paid platforms, but all can start. You don’t need to be a writer to blog (so if that’s what’s stopping you, don’t let it!), you just need a story.
  • Don’t like to write, then use video. You can share your voice on apps like Periscope and YouTube. Make short videos where you communicate with viewers about your experience.
  • Not comfortable with video, why not use photos? Apps like Instagram can be a great way to share your story with others using images and captions. This way you’re telling your classroom’s story through images. If your students are younger, consider taking pictures from the back or just of their work. For older students, make sure students sign media waivers.
  • Social media isn’t the only way to share your story. Consider speaking at conferences or even in at your own school’s PD and collaborate with colleagues to tell your story.

The same way your students may have reasons for why they aren’t good at something, you probably do too. But what would you say to them if they said they couldn’t do something or they bad at something? Now it’s time to step back and give yourself the same advice you’d give them.

You can be good at whatever you put your mind to. Perhaps you aren’t there yet, but if you practice, you can be. You matter and we want to know your story and hear YOUR voice, so please share it. Don’t deprive us of your wisdom and knowledge.

How will you share your story today? Please share because you are more than JUST anything, you are the sum total of everything that makes you YOU

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management How 'Vaccine Discrimination' Laws Make It Harder for Schools to Limit COVID Spread
In Montana and Ohio, the unvaccinated are a protected class, making it tough to track and contain outbreaks, school leaders say.
4 min read
Principal and District Superintendent Bonnie Lower takes the temperature of a student at Willow Creek School as the school reopened, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Willow Creek, Mont.
Bonnie Lower, a principal and district superintendent in Willow Creek, Mont., checks the temperature of a student as Willow Creek School reopened for in-person instruction in the spring.
Ryan Berry/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP
School & District Management Opinion 'Futures Thinking' Can Help Schools Plan for the Next Pandemic
Rethinking the use of time and place for teachers and students, taking risks, and having a sound family-engagement plan also would help.
17 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
School & District Management Opinion The Consequence of Public-Health Officials Racing to Shutter Schools
Public-health officials' lack of concern for the risks of closing schools may shed light on Americans' reticence to embrace their directives.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management Opinion Best Ways for Schools to Prepare for the Next Pandemic
Being better connected to families and the community and diversifying the education workforce are some of the ways to be ready.
14 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."