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Slice of Life 10: More on Teacher Voice

By Janice Ewing

Yesterday, I wrote about a conference proposal that I am working on with two former grad students. I mentioned that they are wonderful teachers, who, like many others, have a lot to share, but are not entirely comfortable facing adult audiences. That observation sparked some interesting comments from some other slicers. One expressed that she also gets nervous addressing colleagues and asked if that ever goes away. Another wondered if it has always been difficult for teachers to share their expertise, or if the current climate in education is part of the problem. Still another, who has much experience with adult learning, explained that she reacts differently to presenting, depending on the group.

The comments made me want to dig deeper into this issue of teacher voice. I think it’s more important than ever that teachers share their experiences and insights with other teachers, community members, and policy-makers. In most cases, we know our students better than anyone other than their families. We know what motivates them, what frustrates them, what they need, and what we need. We all know this in our unique way, and we can learn so much from each other. What can we do to encourage more teachers to be open opportunities to reach a wider audience? Let’s continue the conversation about teacher voice.

* This “Slice of Life” post is part of a larger blog series, hosted by the blog site, Two Writing Teachers: A Meeting Place for a World of Reflective Writers.

???????????Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think you make an important point. Teachers have important things to say and we need to hear their expertise. One of the things I’ve noticed, wrestled with, tried to come to terms with is teacher vulnerability. Teachers who take on leadership roles (like presenting at conferences, sharing expertise, etc.) without having an official leadership role, sometimes face backlash from their colleagues within their buildings. Have you noticed this through your work with teachers?


    March 10, 2015
    • janiceewing #

      I have, especially for newer teachers, and it takes confidence and a mind set that one is doing something of value for interested teachers and their students to not let that be an insurmountable obstacle.


      March 11, 2015
  2. We can begin conversations like ok you’re concerned about…. who are you studying? This is how elevate our voices as teachers


    March 10, 2015
  3. Rita Sorrentino #

    I think teacher voice is important for professional growth, for student advocacy, and for engaging in educational/political discourse. For some teachers, social media has become a convenient way to connect and share. For others who work in more restrictive environments, invitation and encouragement are first steps. From communities of practice within schools to wider networks, teachers can support and be supported in developing the sound of their teacher voice.


    March 10, 2015
  4. I think you raise such wonderful questions. I wonder what part of the “solution” might lie in our work places promoting collegial conversation and communication about our practices, our beliefs, our ideas for support each other and for support students. I think that as we become more grounded and confident in the messages we share with each other and the more supported we feel by our colleagues and administrators, the more confidence teachers can feel about making their voice heard to different audiences.


    March 10, 2015

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