“I realized, I’m much more than a teacher of standards. I’m a teacher of the human heart …”
This quote from Abdul Wright, 2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, perfectly captured for me the essence of our podcast series with the 2017 Teachers of the Year: Leading from the Classroom. Over the last few weeks, we have been sharing a special series we did in partnership with CCSSO and the 2017 Teachers of the Year. Their stories, in so many ways, were expressions of this sentiment from Abdul. From immigration, to the critical role of the relationship between teacher and student, to the need to be a voice for the voiceless and enact change for our students, teachers, and education system. Their stories are our stories.
This group of educators embarked on a year-long journey to discover their voice and use it. And boy, did they ever succeed. Thousands listened. They captured the attention of NPR’s Teaching Matters, Education Week, District Administration, Education Dive, and multiple other regional and local media outlets just to name a few! Their moments flooded the social sphere with positivity and a call to act.
For me personally, working with these amazing people has irrevocably changed my heart and my mind. Their stories are impactful, insightful, thought-provoking, and inspiring. What an honor as an organization to be able to amplify the voices and stories of these teachers.
If you didn’t yet have a chance to tune in, brighten your day and enlighten your mind by going to www.teacherpodcasts.org.
Here are just a few stand out moments from the series to capture your curiosity:
“Every one of us can take that next step. … As I look back and think about this journey, the next step is just the one that we take when we make the decision to start out on the journey, and every teacher can take one step toward a better education for all of our students.”
~ Sean Wybrant, CO 2017 Teacher of the Year
“I realized that I needed to be in that room, in that space, and in that moment so I could be making ‘good trouble’, just like John Lewis.”
~Kelisa Wing, Dept. of Defense 2017 Teacher of the Year
“I was immediately reminded of the reason I became a teacher in the first place: to help kids, to positively influence the students in my classroom, to help them love learning, and to help them know that they can succeed.”
~Amy Hysick, NY 2017 Teacher of the Year
“Sometimes we learn more from our students than they do from us. We must seek out their stories, understand their struggles and fears, and work together to give them the tools to move forward and onward as writers of their own stories…”
~Jason Sickel, KS 2017 Teacher of the Year