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Why Do We Ignore All That Is Good in Education?

If there is one teacher in a system that has an affair with his/her student, it gets reported on.

When 1 in some random huge amount perpetrates a scandal, it gets recognized and publicized.

If one didn't know better, one would say that the media and government want the world to think ill of teachers, or why else would there be such a focus on the few who do bad things.

Let's face it, if journalists go on an expedition to find the unsavory aspects of teaching, they'll find it. It's always there, just like in every profession or aspect of life. 

In November of 2014, Time Magazine did just that with an egregious misrepresentation of the educational system.

But that's not what this article is going to be about.

This one is going to be about the majority. Those of us out there doing good things for education. Those of us who want to make positive changes in the lives of children and ultimately in the world at large.

The usual scope of a teaching job goes well outside the job description of conveying content knowledge to students during school hours. Regardless of the misconception that teachers only teach from 8-3 and have the summers off, most of us spend the better portion of our lives treating every child in our spaces as if he or she was our own.

And with the connectivity that the internet now provides, there are a plethora of ways students, parents and other teachers can be in touch to ensure the absolute best care and attention possible around the clock.

Transparency has become the new name of the game and connection the essential way of playing it.

Every day, teachers gather online from all over the world to talk about good pedagogy and share their personal experiences. With the invention of social media networks like Twitter, sharing best practices has become easier. It connects us all, even if we are the only person in our schools trying to do education differently.

The critical mass that is forming is that of an informed body, making change and positive action in each of his/her own spaces. Empowering students with passionate education, fostering creativity and curiosity pk - 12. For all the scandal created with technology, there is a greater number of success stories of students developing a positive digital footprint making them ready to go off into the world.

There are far too many amazing teachers out there for me to recognize each, but in the last year alone, I've had the chance to meet real people who dedicate their lives 365 days a year to being educational leaders.

Thank you:

  • Connie Hamilton, for being the best sister I never had and an incredible mentor in my journey.

  • Karen Terwilliger, for tirelessly committing yourself to what kids need and never being afraid to rewrite the script.

  • Erin Geiger, for putting students in the driver's seat and allowing them to own their learning.

  • Paul Bloomberg and Tony Francouer as well as whole the Core Collaborative, who strive to be the change in the world by helping school systems do assessment differently.

  • Jill Berkowicz, for always finding a way to speak your truth and see learning opportunities

  • Faith Tripp, for doing so much for kids and making it look easy. You work tirelessly in your many roles to make sure all kids get what they need.

  • Mark Barnes for always pushing me to really consider better assessment methods and creating the Teachers Throwing out Grades Facebook Group. And for creating the Hack Learning series so that all teachers know what they can do tomorrow.

  • Dr. Michael Curran, for giving pre-service teachers everything they need to be successful and being an awesome friend.

  • Michele Corbat for reminding me of what it means to be a positive deviant in her involvement in #colchat (Culture of Learning).

  • Vicki Davis, who is always making herself available to help others be their best.

  • Angela Maiers who always reminds us to #choose2matter

  • The Connected Educators at Corwin, each with an amazing message and practical advice for getting connected

  • Brad Currie for sharing his views as an administrator with me and always engaging in a dialogue to better the experiences of those he meets.

  • Peter Dewitt who recognizes and empowers those around him all the time, in the name of making education better.

  • Dave Burgess who is teaching the world to Teach Like a Pirate.

  • Alice Keeler who is making technology approachable for everyone

  • To the countless Twitter Chat moderators who come up with ideas and questions for engaging dialogue (some favorite chats are #edchat, #ecet2, #nyedchat, #satchat, #sunchat, #TLAP, #hacklearning, #bfc530) The amazing participants of the chats I frequent who push me in my thinking, support me in my endeavors and accept me no matter what.

  • To the folks who haven't gotten connected yet, but do extraordinary work with students every day.

I can keep going with this list, I definitely didn't mean for it to be exclusive in any way, so I'm giving you a little assignment:

Please post the name of an educator who makes a difference every day in your life or the lives of your school community. Make sure you add his/her Twitter handle or website with the comment. If you have time, add a little anecdote.

We all matter; let's make a concerted effort to highlight the truly inspirational folks to overcome the current negative climate of education together. Take time this week to honor the inspirational on your own blogs as well.

Thanks for your help and inspiration. What more can we do?

*This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog Work in Progress in October of 2014. It has been updated.

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