When I was working on my teacher as ally badge I was in the majority of the class. While we all had our choice of badges, it seemed that most of us had chosen to pursue ally, and now, most of the class is pursuing the advocate badge.
While I am not going to be pursuing teacher as advocate (I will be pursuing teacher as connected learner) there are some common themes that ran between ally and advocate that I will be sharing based on Lauren, Lauren, and Alex’s morning pages prompt this morning:
“I was asked to share my story, my concerns, and my beliefs about education. No one outside my family had ever asked me about my outlook on education. I realized I had a voice – an authentic, small but strong voice with a valuable perspective on students’ needs. Somehow I understood how to paint a picture with words, a picture that pulls people into my world with students.” (Crabtree). Both the Ally and Advocate badges inspire different reactions within each of us, but we all have a unique voice to share these reactions. How can you act as a leader within your current community? Your future community/schooling system? Think of the ways you can use your voice to share your thoughts and inspire change within all aspects of life as well as the education system. What will you do?
The way I have come to think about the differences between these two badges is that the ally is someone who advocates for their student, while the advocate fights for the profession. Both of these drives come from the same place for me. The thing that drives me to teach is my love for literature and my love for students, and my desire to advocate for the profession stems from that. The people I’ve met in the teacher education program at CSU are some of the most kind, caring, and dedicated people I could have ever imagined. They are deeply committed to helping their students and peers through all sorts of hardships, whether it be the next standardized test or the next change of policy or a bully in the hall, these men and women are here for one another and their students.
Watching the way that these people care for each other makes me wonder how one could not be an advocate for the profession. While teachers, according to José Vilson, are often some of the most respected people in their communities, the overall perception of teachers continues to be negative.
Why the heck has the perception become that teachers are whiny, lazy, spiteful people who are just there to torture kids and float through a career on tenure?
And if that’s the case, why would anyone choose to be a teacher?
Sure, maybe there are some miserable human beings out there in the teaching profession, but that’s just because human beings are involved. Go back and visit a high school teacher that made a difference in your life, or think about one of your elementary school teachers whose name you haven’t forgotten. Think about the difference that they have made in your life. Think about the difference that they’ve made in your community. These people fight to make the world a better place by educating you and your children. They give people voices, they give people the tools to participate in our communities, and the tools to learn about others.