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Slide Notes

Every story starts out with a problem and my story starts out with one of isolation. It isn't until you're trapped in a room or an echo chamber that you seek an alternative means to growth.

Amplify Your Voice: Moving Teacher Leadership Beyond the Classroom

Published on Jan 31, 2016

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Amplify Your Voice:
Moving Teacher Leadership Beyond the Classroom
By Starr Sackstein, NBCT

Every story starts out with a problem and my story starts out with one of isolation. It isn't until you're trapped in a room or an echo chamber that you seek an alternative means to growth.
Photo by HowardLake


Often in schools, teachers can feel isolated or disenfranchised in the buildings that they work. They may try to make change in their buildings, but feel like their voices aren't being heard.
Photo by tonymonblat

Isolation breeds:

  • Frustration
  • Apathy
  • Impatience
  • Negative feelings about teaching
This isolation breeds frustration that can in turn lead to apathy or impatience which can be crushing to an educational career. Every teacher needs the positive energy that comes and feeds off of feeling excited about our careers and nothing short of those feelings can send a new, or veteran teacher into a tailspin.

Break free

If we want to create the best experience for students, we must break free from the isolation and find what liberates us. For me, it was leadership, but I wasn't finding it in my school in a meaningful way.
We can't wait for people to give us what we need... ultimately we have to find it ourselves if it matters enough

My story

started with a social media journey
Around the same time I was feeling stuck, I decided to take on National Board certification and start connecting outside of my classroom. I pushed the boundaries of my comfort and got onto Twitter not really understanding what it was for.
Photo by mkhmarketing

Initial thoughts about being connected:

  • What can I say that is meaningful in 140 characters or less?
  • Who cares about what I write?
  • What am I going to write about that matters?
  • Which platform am I going to use?
  • How will I know how to use that platform?
So I knew I needed to do something else, but I didn't really understand the social media and how to use it to grow. I was reliant on others to help me, I mean do it for me. Until he didn't do it fast enough
I had some initial thoughts about being connected... because at the time, I was largely unconnected - sure I went to conferences, but it pretty much ended there -
What could I actually learn from being on Twitter?

I was wrong.

I was wrong about all of it... turns out that being connected was the answer.
Photo by diloz

being connected

started a chain reaction
Being connected, literally linked me to everything that was missing before and generated opportunities I didn't know could happen... only wished or dreamed they would.

Guess what?

  • Being intentionally reflective and writing on a blog started to amplify my voice
  • Twitter got my voice heard in many places
  • And things started to happen
Someone else started StarrSackstein.com for me, but then I reclaimed it. As I wrote my first teaching book, Teaching Mythology Exposed, I wanted to have readers weigh in on what mattered to them and use that data in my book. The blog was a perfect place to start.
But something more happened. Writing on the blog became a huge part of my reflection practice that continued the process I started with the National Board. I closely examined the successes and failures and shared them and people started to notice.

Something happened...

it wasn't enough to just put stuff into the universe, I had to do it with intention.
Then a blog post turned into a guest post and guest post into my own blog on Education week and then books... lots of books
Photo by shawncampbell

Blogs to books
books to leadership
leadership to better student learning
for more students

That intentional sharing and learning generated more opportunities for me to share what I know. Whether it was in my writing or in person or now through my scopes and YouTube channel, sharing my unique vision was helping others focus their own and more students were benefiting for it.
Photo by RichGrundy

Our voices matter...

Alone, I can accomplish so much, but together we can actually enact major change. We can make a difference because all of our voices matter.
Photo by Julie Lindsay

When we put ourselves out there, we take the first worthwhile risk that models possibilities for our colleagues and all of our students...

If we expect students or our colleagues or anyone to take risks, then we must stand on the ledge first and jump to show them that it's possible

It's time to raise our voices

what will you share?
One voice alone can be loud and beautiful, many together are powerful. We must raise our voices in whatever way works for each of us and in unison share the mosaic of our story.
Photo by Brendan Biele

What can you do to amplify your voice?

  • Join Twitter and be active - follow people who inspire you
  • Start a blog and share your story
  • Get involved on a school or community level and if that doesn't work, reach out
  • Ask for help - I'm here and I'm sure many others are too
So after you've heard my story, what will you do to amplify yours? Here are some suggestions...

Thank you, I'm Starr Sackstein, NBCT

  • Connect with me on Twitter @MsSackstein
  • Read my blogs: StarrSackstein.com
  • Work in Progress @ Education Week Teacher
  • Check out my books on Amazon
  • Check out my classes on Periscope