A few months ago, I received an email from one of the coordinators of the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ). The e-mail was an invitation to a “Storyteller’s Retreat.” I have been working for the past year to increase my voice and using the power of my story to begin to inspire and transform the practice of others. I was admittedly a little excited to have the opportunity to spend time with educators from across the country who were traveling the same path and are just as passionate about education as I am.
Upon arriving at CTQ headquarters in Carrboro, North Carolina, I was immediately greeted by a room full of inspiring educators. Before the retreat had even begun, I was struck by the amount of collective wisdom that these teachers brought to the table. Inside the room were educators who passionately engaged in the work of education not for their own prosperity but for the good of their students. Each of the teachers in the room was a leader not only in their own classrooms but beyond. We were all gathered together in a place that was intentionally designed to elevate the voice of teachers to new levels. It was a welcomed experience to be in a room with so many people who are as passionate about education as I am. Although many had been recognized on a larger scale for their excellence, they remained humble— desiring only to share their stories for the betterment of the profession and the lives of students across the country. To paraphrase one of the educators at the retreat: now that we are in the same network— your students and my students become our students.
The entire retreat was based around the premise that each of us has a story to tell. Because each of us has a unique perspective no one will ever tell the same story. When we empower teacher leaders to tell their stories, we can begin to elevate the profession.
Although the scope of our influence may vary widely, each of us has many stories to tell— stories when directed to the right audience and told in the right manner can create ripples that spread far beyond the walls of our classroom.
As the retreat came to a close, we were asked to determine the transformative power that the retreat and the tools that we used at the retreat could have. CTQ will never begin to be able to identify and bring in every teacher leader from across the country to a retreat. That is why it is on us to seek out the forums and find the opportunities to share our stories and breed new life to the profession. If each teacher leader in this country could find the platform for their voice then we could begin to reinvigorate, re-intellectualize and reimagine the profession.
As one of my fellow CTQ Storyteller’s Julie Hitz said: “Not all teachers are rockstars, but they can be change-makers, share you story and inspire others.”
I would love to hear from you. What story will you tell?
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