Amplify teacher voice | City of Ideas

Posted 02/19/2014 by Paul S. Grogan

This Sunday, February 23, is the deadline for teachers and other educational professionals at Boston public, charter and parochial schools to submit their ideas for the 3rd Annual Boston Ed Talks celebration, scheduled for May 8th at the Boston Foundation. The concept was born out of a desire to do on a local level what the TED Conference and website have done globally – provide a forum for great ideas to be shared and discussed.

The topic, as the name would suggest, is education. But just as important as the ideas at Ed Talks are who presents them. The talks have one requirement – they must be given by teachers and others who work with students each day.

The open call for submissions is a new twist. In 2012 and 2013, we selected our Ed Talks presenters from our own remarkable Teacher Advisory Panel, a group of Boston teachers we have convened to share their ideas for making schools better for all Boston students and those who work with them.

Video streaming by Ustream

But for 2014 – we’re opening the doors wide. Teachers from any Boston public, charter public or parochial school can apply to share their proposed talk, and we will choose the best of the proposals to be featured on May 8th at the Boston Foundation, streamed worldwide on the Boston Foundation website.

The talks are important, but so are the presenters. Too often, as we talk of schools, districts, administrators, unions and officials – we don’t talk enough of classrooms, teachers and students. Too often, we don’t set aside time to listen to teachers, or give time and space for teachers to meet, connect, and talk about learning.

Take a look at the issues raised in the 2013 Ed Talks event (the video is embedded above). Presenters tackled the shortage of Black and Latino male teachers, and the challenges of teacher pay and student performance. They presented a successful student-centered Math curriculum and reviewed the development of a first-year Horace Mann Charter School.

Their ideas were focused, their presentations were strong, their voices were authentic, and they were heard. Each talk had a respondent from the top levels of the city and state education system, including Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester and other leaders in the public, parochial and higher education systems.

We are fortunate in this city to have thousands of dedicated, talented teachers, young and old – and the Boston Foundation has worked to support them, both by advocating for schools where teacher voice is respected and where teachers have time to collaborate, and by supporting efforts to give classroom teachers opportunities to be leaders and drivers of innovation.

Ed Talks is one of those opportunities – so if you know an inspired teacher in Boston, encourage them to share their proposals. And circle May 8th on your calendar – as a day when their voices will be heard.

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