Even If It’s Hard

Molly Reed Teacher Leadership

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After reading Teacher in a Strange Land's recent blog, I felt compelled to reflect on lessons learned from contributing to Stories from School as a female blogger. Reading through the "Boys Town" comments,  David Cohen's question grabbed my attention. "What can we do to encourage more women to engage and lead here and now?" The opportunity to write for SFS has been my encouragement. Is it really as simple as providing women the platform to write?

Previously, if I was asked anything about working with students or the classroom, I easily shared my opinion. But when asked about my take on educational policy hot topics, I changed the subject. If I was to grow as a professional, I knew I had to change. Even if it was…hard.

What was hard about it? I doubted my experience. I was not a policy expert, so who would care about my opinion? What power did I have? Worse yet, what if people disagreed with me? I also blamed lack of time. Give up my precious Facebook for reading ed policy blogs and tweets?

It was after I met the bloggers featured on SFS that a fire was lit. The more I read their blogs, the more connected I felt. After reading blogs they recommended through links, I felt my sense of awareness grow. They served as policy teachers. The impact was not as evident in my writing, but my thinking expanded. 

Ah, I was transformed. I realized I could continue to share my classroom moments, but I also needed to show how those moments were affected by educational policies in play. I reconciled myself with the fact that there were people who wouldn't care about my ideas or might disagree and focused on you who I would strike a cord with and possible inspire.

But, really, the focus is not about you. It's about the students who greet you each August. Demanding a quality education for them begins by informing others of the policies that control what happens in schools.

What is it we say to kids? Be risk takers. Give us your best guess. What makes you think that? Sharing what makes us think certain beliefs is the only way to learn about what is going on in education.

Here is the biggest influence in change for me. I am now a mom. I want my daughter to feel confident in sharing her voice with the world. I must lead by example for her and the rest of the future female blogger world.

If we want education and the teaching profession to be examined differently, female teachers must take time to increase awareness and share their opinions. You have to start somewhere. Reading this blog is a step. Then take the next step…Read a post, think about how it pertains to your role in education, and then post a comment either as a reflection or question.

 

Molly Reed

Tucson, Arizona

My classroom teaching experience has been in Tucson’s urban public schools with grades first through fifth. Beginning my eleventh year of teaching, I am the Outdoor Learning Coordinator at a Project Based Learning primary school. I am a National Board Certified Teacher (ECGen) with a BA in Elementary Education and MA in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona.

My introduction to teaching occurred during a National Outdoor Leadership School semester which led me to work as an outdoor educator traveling throughout the United States and South America. I am interested in connecting with other educators and those interested in the changes in schools with education policy.

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