“As political activists, we must be advocates and risk takers who are willing to write and speak publicly. We must be public relations people who testify, write letters, pen editorials, and communicate clearly with all educational stakeholders. This is a new role for most of us. The public is not used to seeing teachers on the front lines of the profession.” - Regie Routman,Conversations (2000)
The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) nurtures the leadership of Washington's accomplished teachers, helping them to develop the skills they need to improve their profession and advocate for the needs of their students. Because we value the scholarly contributions of classroom teachers, CSTP has designed opportunities for teacher-authors to write for publication in professional journals. And because we understand the pressures of daily teaching life, CSTP provides time for a writers' retreat, during which teachers can write about content issues, instructional strategies, or professional dilemmas in a supportive community of fellow writers.
CSTP's 2010 Writers' Retreat will be from June 28 - July 1 in Olympia. Click here to learn more about this event.
Here are some examples of what past attendees have written:
The writing shared in these two volumes is insightful, reflective, and thought-provoking. These teachers have made valuable contributions to our profession. Click on an image to view Teachers' Voices.
As other college students learned to play racket ball or joined a sorority, I was driven by a need to leave campus and get into the city, that city being Philadelphia. Part of the pull to the people was probably a longing to make up for lost time, a longing to understand who America was, to know the people I had been so loosely connected to living as an ex-patriot in Europe for most of my childhood. And so I made daily treks my junior and senior years of college from my nice little women's college in Bryn Mawr to the University of Pennsylvania located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. From there, I often continued on to a church in the heart of one of the worst ghettoes in North Philadelphia or one of several schools. Read more »
I didn't appreciate all the things my parents had imparted to me until I began to have my own children. Suddenly it was important to think about what I wanted them to know and be able to do. There were other things I wanted them to avoid like the plague. With my first son, we were careful to talk to him in the womb and read to him regularly, everything from children's books to passages from the Bible. Growing up, language acquisition was a critical skill. My parents read to us as small children. They read for hours to themselves and encouraged us to do the same. To be honest, as one son became a toddler and the other was born, I could think of no skill greater than that of communication in both the written and spoken word. Read more »
They arrived much as they have for any other ProCert meeting. Someone plops down an opened box of Oreos, others make last minute cell-phone calls. They sign in with signatures that reflect the joys or frustrations of their teaching day. A new mom rushes out to pump for breast-milk one more time before the session begins just as the volleyball coach rushes in from practice. Two single teachers flirt a bit as others use sub-sandwich bags and water bottles to define personal space in the room. Candidates quickly organize the assignments they had intended to organize yesterday and set their piles of evidence and notebook materials under chairs. Everything seems familiar and routine. Read more »
"What do you remember learning in school?" For most of us, regardless of our age, the "I remember when I..." is almost always followed by a description of something that we made/painted/performed/recited/creatively moved or pounded out a beat to.... We remember the experience because it was connected to all parts of us - the mind, the hand (or body), and the heart.
I have lost count of the number of times I have received the same type of answer when asking middle school students to describe something they have learned. I never forget the sparkle I see in their eyes and the enthusiasm I hear in their voices as they recount learning about something as they danced and moved, sang, acted, drew or constructed. Their responses are not surprises to me, but rather, confirmations of the many central roles the arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) perform in our lives and learning.
Our family is headed to a party to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the liberation of the Republic of Liberia. As my daughter heads out the door, I call her back, "What are you wearing?" I ask with a note of frustration in my voice. She has on a bright orange pair of men's basketball shorts, a blue t-shirt, a black headband with skulls-and-crossbones and a green pair of flip-flops. I think she's covered just about every color of the rainbow. Read more »
Scanning files of teacher applicants shows quickly their diverse backgrounds-professional, cultural, academic. High-tech industry employee, engineer. Recent college graduate, immigrant with experience in finance, technical college instructor. All ages.
When hiring these new teachers, you know how hard the first year can be. You know training, retaining and sustaining them is essential. And you know that deep teacher learning is vital for them to become skillful practitioners who engage students in authentic learning. Read more »