Courage lives on

 

#everydaycourageThis fall, we’ve been talking  about everyday courage in schools. We’ve written about the courage it takes to start a new team, using technology to open up communication with students and to open up our practice.

We’ve shared examples about how teachers are showing up, engaging in hard conversations about race, their own practice, about getting negative feedback and sharing our work and selves with others. We’ve heard about how students are leading the way when given the support at school to do so: working for acceptance, equality and identity and systems that let every voice be heard. Here are three themes we’ve seen emerge.

Vulnerability

When we show up each day, and be ourselves with students, and ask them for feedback about projects, how the class should run, about what they want to write about, and how they want to make a difference in the world, we share power. We show them that we are not the holders to the keys to the kingdom. That we are all equal and deserving.

When we model our own mistakes and learning, we show them we are human, and that we are not on a pedestal that will soon fall. We are all learning together, each day, the best we can. The key is to keep trying. Forever tries, as author Glennon Melton Doyle says.

Transparency

how to start difficult conversations

Teachers are sharing their ideas more easily now with technology. In our vibrant Twitter community, teachers are posting ideas, resources, and their experiences in a supportive environment, giving more transparency to their work.

Teachers are partnering more with outside organizations, like TIIE, to improve student engagement, and increase personalization, and welcoming people from other schools to observe and learn from each other.

Teachers are posting their daily activities and inviting others into observe them via pineapple charts and Observe signs. This is a vulnerability and transparency sandwich of bravery. 

Bravery

Our students show bravery, like the LGBTQ club featured in Life Legeros’s post on the Queer Straight Alliance at Crossett Brook. They show us how to be brave in the face of bigotry and stereotyping. Teachers are brave when they privilege student voice, especially those from a vastly difference life experience than their own, by listening and helping to make sure their voices are heard by others.

Teachers are connecting to each other and to the wider world more, too, walking into the murky waters of identity, race and politics with their students in the wake of violence and  division in this country. Teachers are at the forefront and are leading the change we need to create more engaged, civic minded, compassionate citizens who know how to navigate complex and dynamic problems and situations.

This is messy, challenging work. And it is changing the school and teaching culture, day by day.

Let’s let Brene Brown sum it up for us:

“Vulnerability is the best measure of courage. The willingness to show up and be known. It just doesn’t get braver than that.”

Thank you for joining us in this campaign, and for your everydaycourage in our schools each day.

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Katy Farber

Farber joined TIIE after 17 years as a classroom teacher in central Vermont. Her dissertation with Northeastern University focused on service learning at the middle level and is called The Doing Revolution: early adolescents, service learning, and personal growth. Her education articles have been published on CNN’s School of Thought, Educational Leadership, Edutopia, and the Synapse. Farber has also taught pre-service and practicing teachers in graduate courses at Union Institute and LAPDA. She is passionate about promoting student and teacher voice, engaging early adolescent students, sharing the power of service learning, and creating inclusive communities where joy, courageous conversations and kindness are the norm. She lives in central Vermont with her husband and two daughters and loves being outside with family and friends, listening to music, and jumping into Vermont ponds and lakes.

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