This is a multipart series of posts intended to help teachers grow their leadership practice and ignite conversations about education online and in person. The goal of a teacher leader is to improve the learning of all students through their efforts, collaboration, and influence. The 2014 Teacher Leadership Challenge is a weekly installment activity that poses a prompt on an educational topic or issue. Your challenge is to respond within one week to the prompt via a post you publish to your blog. Responses to the prompt that you publish to your own blog should be around 500 words or less. The aim is to get more teachers thinking globally about their classroom practice and their own connection to the wider education community. You can subscribe to this blog to get the weekly challenge sent automatically by email.
You can share your post to Twitter using #TLC2014 and spark conversation with educators. In addition to posting on your own blog, you can elect to include your post in the weekly collection showcase blog. To do this, simply email your completed response post to the showcase, at firstname.lastname@example.org Make sure that you include the title of your post with the week of the prompt for proper tagging (e.g., "My Post Title | September 6, 2013") in the subject line (without "re:") of your email, and the full post laid out in paragraphs in the body of the email. Posts are automatically published from sending the email. You can embed images and URLs into the body of your email, and the post will publish while maintaining your formatting and layout. Check out others' responses in the response collection or on Google+ each week, leave them your comments, and get the conversation rolling ahead for teacher leadership.
This Week's Challenge:
What factors influenced you to become a teacher?
Some educators knew from a young age that they wanted to be a teacher, while for others it was a shift from their established career path that led them into education. Everyone has a unique story that describes their path into teaching. Each story tells more than just the steps of what led them into a classroom. It describes the path to the classroom. And while that path may have been illuminated early on, or made apparent later in the journey, the paths all have led to the same place. For some, teaching might be a calling, while for others there was never any question of what the future held.
Whether you grew up in a family of educators or had no association with teaching other than being a student yourself, you can likely identify influential people, times, or experiences that shaped your career decision. Do you remember an inspiring teacher who you had in your career? Were you an athlete who had coaches who influenced your life? Maybe there an experience where you realized that you were good at teaching something to someone else. Many people tutored, coached, or mentored others as young people themselves, which revealed success in working with others.
Most teachers can dial back and describe that exact moment where they made the decision to become a teacher. All of the influences that led them to go into the teaching profession have shaped, in some way, their philosophy of education and goals as an educator. Those same reasons behind why they went into teaching are the source of how they derive a sense of accomplishment from the profession and working with others.
So, what is your story of what influenced you to get into the teaching profession? Was it an interest in working with young people? Did you have a passion for a subject area that you eagerly wanted to share with others? Was it a role model who taught you something that inspired you to do the same in your life? All of us have a story of why we became a teacher. These stories might be different, but they all unite us by bring us together in education.
Image: "Children's Tile" by Gary Abud