Action required

Major blow to the teacher force today…a valued colleague, an excellent special educator shared with me that she plans to leave special education at the end of the year. She listed the typical reasons: too many students, not enough time to teach them, the paperwork is too much, she can’t work the extra hours, and she needs more time with her family. She said that leaving is the right thing to do because another teacher can give them more time. I don’t blame my friend for wanting more time with her family, but I grieve the loss of another great colleague in the profession. I grieve the loss of a teacher-leader who has important things to say about being a teacher. It’s time to respond with a blog about the issues that affect teachers…a place to write about the importance of leading from IN the classroom.

I’m a doctoral student and I have been thinking a lot about leading from IN the classroom lately. Surprisingly, when people find out that I’m a doctoral student, they ask me “What are you going to do with that?” My response: “I’m going to teach.” They look at me with disbelief. They ask why I wouldn’t want to have a bigger impact…they say that I have good ideas to share…they say that I should desire to do something MORE. Now here I want to stop them. What could be more important than having a deep impact on some very important students? There are already great administrators in my field. They don’t need me there. See, I think that I am needed in the classroom. I think that there is nothing more powerful than a teacher who leads from IN the classroom. We NEED more teacher-leaders who stay in the classroom, share our stories, and advocate for our students. This will be a blog about leading from IN the classroom.  I believe that teachers are a powerful force…and it’s time for teachers to feel empowered about the important role they have as leaders. Don’t leave the classroom to lead. Stay in your classroom and LEAD the way. This is an important time in education. Your action is required.

I'm a National Board Certified teacher (ECYA-ENS) for preschool students with special needs. I earned my doctorate in 2016 from ASU in Leadership and Innovation. My research focused on increasing leadership for special education teachers who work with paraeducators in their schools. I care about teacher leadership, special education, retention of early career teachers, National Board Certification, and improving outcomes for families affected by disabilities. I believe that teachers within the classroom should feel that their voice is valuable--and they should share their perspectives in the community to influence policies that affect us in the classrooms. The day of unfocused chatter is over. Time for action teachers!

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2 comments on “Action required
  1. Thank you for leading from withing and not leaving! Tell the stories of your staff and students to help the world “see” the injustices you all bear witness to every day. Even more importantly, tell their positive stories of triumph and love! There is a movement in Arizona and you should connect with the Arizona Teacher Leaders Network on Facebook (AZTLN), engage with bloggers and consider posting a guest blog for Stories from School Arizona, and consider joining other teachers leading from within during Ed Week, Every Week Twitter chats #azk12chat


  2. Christine Marsh says:

    Well said!


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