Elevating Educator Voices: The Story of Boston EdTalks

Posted 1/9/2018 By Heather Buffo, Program Associate, Education to Career

Late in 2011, a group of about 20 teachers gathered in a conference room at the Boston Foundation. They ranged across grade levels and school types – elementary, middle and high schools, charter, Catholic, independent and district schools – but they shared one powerful quality: their unwavering dedication to their students’ needs and goals. That dedication brought them together as members of the Teacher Advisory Board at the Boston Foundation, an effort to ensure the voices of teachers help inform and drive our efforts to improve schools.

Teachers across the city and across Massachusetts are doing incredible work every day, they knew. What was missing was a platform for them to share those ideas, build relationships across schools, and collect best practices. They decided to change that.

They created the Boston EdTalks.

Seven years and dozens of talks later, The Boston Foundation is proud to announce the 7th Annual Boston EdTalks will take place on Thursday, May 10, 2018, at WGBH. Educators from across the region will stand before the Greater Boston community and share ideas, innovations, and best practices in what is today the largest Teacher Appreciation Week event in Boston.[PE4] 

But the EdTalks are about more than simply appreciating the hard work teachers put in every day. They are designed to highlight their role as front-line leaders in classrooms, who regularly develop creative ways to engage students. In a time where debates in education have become increasingly political and polarized, we would be remiss to ignore their voices in the discussion.

And so in its seventh year, the Boston EdTalks will strive again to lift up teacher [PE5] voice on innovations in education. EdTalks of years past have explored topics such as bringing engineering education to the elementary level, exploring self-identity through the curriculum, using Twitter chats for professional development, and teaching geography and history through song. Each year’s talks are recorded and shared online, creating a repository of timeless, thoughtful tactics and strategies for improving classroom practice.

This year, our presenters will not only present their innovative practice to a live audience at WGBH, they’ll also sit down with us as part of a podcast series to explore further their work and their role. Our first podcast series, hosted by journalist Ethan Bronner, will be released in the coming weeks via WGBH.

Interested? Presenters must apply by January 16 at 8:00 am for the 2018 Boston EdTalks.

The Boston Foundation’s Teacher Advisory Board will read submitted applications and select a group of educators to move forward to an interview round. Presenters will be selected by the end of February 2018. If you know of a remarkable educator doing ground-breaking things in their classroom or school community, please encourage them to visit www.bostonedtalks.org and click on Apply to Present. To watch EdTalks from previous years, visit www.bostonedtalks.org or The Boston Foundation’s Youtube channel.