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Using My Teacher Voice

Leah Clark Current Affairs, Education, Education Policy, Life in the Classroom

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Last year I participated in our statewide teacher walkout. This experience changed my perspective in a myriad of ways. Marching to the capitol with thousands of teachers, administrators, parents, students, and supporters is one of the most memorable moments of my teaching career. Meeting every day to protest the budget cuts with people from my school and district taught me the power we have as a profession and as Americans. And we returned to school with the promise of increased funding for all of our schools, making every moment worth it. In short, I learned to use my teacher voice!

However, it’s been several months since Red for Ed, and we have seen a major setback with the dismissal of the Invest in Ed initiative. I understand many feel defeated after thousands of hours was put into collecting signatures to get the initiative on the ballot in November. To some, this looks and feels like defeat or failure.

However, as teachers, we preach to our students perseverance and the value of hard work to overcome challenges. Now, we must follow our words of wisdom and pick ourselves up and get back it.

What can we do? Simple. We must use our teacher voices! We used them once, and we must use them again. There are a variety of ways to get involved before the important November election.

What can you do?

  • Pick up the phone and call your friends and family. Tell them about candidates you support and why. Then ask your friends and family to call their friends and family. My sister is one of the most vocal voices educating her circle about the issues in education. Make it a ripple effect!
  • Find your local legislative district and see how you can help. Can you address some postcards? Canvas for a local legislative candidate? Host a candidate party? (I’m trying this! I have three local Senate and House candidates coming to my house to speak directly with my friends and family. I’m beyond excited!)
  • Place a candidate sign in your yard. So easy!
  • Attend a candidate fundraiser. My dear friend Mary invited me to an event, and we met great people who share our vision for education in the state of Arizona.
  • Share a story or article on social media. Make it personal. People want to know about our jobs. Give the people what they want and educate them at the same time!
  • VOTE! This is the single most important act of using your teacher voice. One vote may seem like it doesn’t matter. But together, we know the power of our voices, and we must use it to propel the message that we care about our students and believe they deserve better.

Our voices are powerful. This I learned last April. Our community wants our schools and students to succeed. But in order to do that, we have to continue to use our voices to educate not only our students about our beloved content but educate our communities about how they can support the most important profession in our state. Please share how you are continuing to use your teacher voice below!

 

 

Leah Clark

Phoenix, Arizona

I joined the teaching profession after spending several years in luxury retail. While the free clothes and handbags were definite job perks, I felt burned out and tired of long hours, weekends and holidays. So, I went back to school to become a teacher and have never looked back. I love my job!
My teaching philosophy is simple: Do what’s best for kids. While it’s not eloquent, this humble phrase directs every decision I make about teaching and students. As a Language Arts teacher at a central Phoenix high school, it’s my honor and passion to create opportunities for students to communicate, collaborate, create and connect with one another and the world around them.
When I am not grading a stack of essays, planning a new lesson, or chaperoning a school dance, I love riding my yellow Huffy bicycle around town, sampling a new restaurant, and traveling to Flagstaff with my husband.

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  • Rachel Perugini

    I know I felt super empowered after the walk out and spent my summer canvasing for signatures for InvestinEd. When that was removed from the ballot, I was crushed that all the work I had put in had been for nothing. But now I’m taking some baby steps back into things before this election. As teachers it is so important to keep the conversations about funding going so we don’t lose the momentum we had this past year.

    • Leah Clark

      Yes, we must not lose the momentum we had. I spent an hour today canvasing for our local district override. We have to stay active and keep our eye on the prize!

  • Yolanda Wheelington

    Thank you for this article. It is a great reminder that this is not a one event movement. We have to stay active and strategic.

    • Leah Clark

      Thank you! I agree! Active and strategic are great words to describe our actions going forward!