Yesterday I launched the Use Your Teacher Voice campaign. At this juncture it is solely a YouTube campaign. The goal is to have a viral video campaign of teachers talking into a camera in an effort to reclaim what has been lost: our authority in our vocation.
When teachers need the attention of the students; when we claim our authority in the classroom, we use our teacher voice. We all know what it sounds like: it’s not threatening, but it is declarative. It’s not hostile, but it does warn. Teachers are good at this in the classroom, but it is time we use our teacher voice outside the classroom, and direct at those who say we don’t deserve our teacher voice, or that our teacher voice has become unnecessary.
In some cases, our authority, our teacher identity has been taken away or stolen from us. In others cases we just haven’t capitalized on the opportunities to say what we love about teaching and what we believe needs to change in ways that are best for teaching and learning.
The video you post to UseYourTeacherVoice is yours. You may speak on any edu-topic of your choosing. UYTV does not have a political stance past encouraging you to reclaim your stance. I do expect some common themes to crop up, and if you wish to, feel free to speak on any or all of these topics: high-stakes testing, equitable funding, public schools, classroom size, teacher evaluations, decision-making, curriculum and instruction, education reform, etc. Perhaps you start your video with a quote and take it from there.
I only ask that you keep your speech dignified, and around :30 seconds in length. Individual teachers in different states of the Union and different stages of their careers need to also consider how they can best speak without putting their employment, school, colleagues or students in jeopardy.
This is your voice and it reflects on you, not the campaign.
How to Use Your Teacher Voice:
1) Make a short video on a subject you wish to speak on
2) Post the video to YouTube
3) Tag the video UseYourTeacherVoice
4) Pass it on to others.
(It is not necessary, but will help with “virality” if you email your video link to firstname.lastname@example.org, or subscribe to the UseYourTeacherVoice YouTube channel.)
It’s time to stop letting others speak in our place. It’s time for us to say what we know, in ways that we can, for reasons we must: our students, our schools, our curricula, ourselves. In the words of Educator and poet Taylor Mali:
“Speak with Conviction: say what you believe in in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it.”
I entreat you, I implore you, and I challenge you to Use Your Teacher Voice.
Facebook: Use Your Teacher Voice
Twitter: @UseYrTcherVoice, #UseYourTeacherVoice
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/UseYourTeacherVoice