I read your recent Ed Week article on teacher voice and found everything you said to be true. Teacher voice is our phrase for what teachers do who are leading in their schools and school districts, on the local, regional, and national stage. Teachers who are thought leaders, who change the rhetoric, and who influence policy.
I think we may need to consider a new way to describe teachers who are “actualizing” a new vision of the teaching profession. The term teacher leader is so broadly defined we may need to consider defining types of teacher leaders who are creating a self determined teaching profession through their actions. I don’t want to settle for being a “bobble head” or being heard. I don’t want to be a part of the conversation, I want to lead the conversation. Teachers, along with parents and communities should be defining and creating the education system students deserve not merely accepting the financially beneficial system businesses have been so adept at creating through support of the standards movement. That is why we wrote Teaching 2030, to take a step in that direction.
I offer the graphic above for young professionals want to teach but have reservations because of how teaching has been defined as a profession. Maybe you want to be a teacher but you don’t like the way teachers have little autonomy, maybe you don’t like that you might have to teach a prescribed curriculum, maybe you don’t like that you would always be defined by your conditions instead of your imagination. I suggest you take the risk, become a teacher but not “just” a teacher, become an expert teacher, and at the same time change what it means to be a teacher. Create a profession where you can define the terms and standards from the perspective of students and teachers. Accept the challenge to reinvent teaching as a self-actualized, self-determined, self-defined profession.