Monday, April 28, 2014

Teacher Leadership Challenge | April 28, 2014

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 5.01.03 PMThis multipart series is intended to help teachers grow their leadership practice and ignite conversations about education online, through blogging, 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 to the prompt in 500 words or less via a post you publish to your blog. 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 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 by 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 message do students really need to hear from teachers?

Recently, a rather poignant blog post by Chase Mielke, a high school psychology teacher in Plainwell, MI, came out. The post was entitled What Students Really Need to Hear, and it caught the attention of a lot of educators. It was shared thousands of times on social channels, but came across my Twitter feed from the 2014 MD Teacher of the YearSean McComb:
I read the post and immediately knew why it was shared as much as it was and why it caught the attention of some of the 2014 State Teachers of the Year. This week's #TLC2014 prompt is inspired by Mr. Mielke's message to his students.
Your blogging challenge this week is to read Chase Mielke's post entitled What Students Really Need to Hear, and then to craft your own blog post with a message about what your message would be to students.
IMG_2766Think about how you would address your own particular class. Do your kids need a pep talk? Do they need to be inspired? Does every student in your classroom know how much you care about them, their learning, their life? Have your students learned about you as a person? Do they know it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them? Maybe your students need encouragement to keep being awesome, or perhaps they are hyper-focused on the wrong things in school. Could your message help redirect them to a better path? Could your words recharge them? Do they need a message to push them finish out the school year strong? Maybe they need to know that someone in their life is in their corner at the time they were considering giving up on school. Or maybe, your message is just what your students need to hear at this point in their life.
Thinking in terms of their development, their needs, their experiences, and their education level: what do your students really need to hear? What would be your open letter to your own students if you had the chance to tell them something important?
After you've blogged your message, then share your post on Twitter using #TLC2014, or email it in to the showcase blog using the email address above. This week, consider sharing your post with @mr_mccomb and @chasemielke, and of course follow them on Twitter, as thanks for helping share this inspiring message and getting more educators blogging. And as always, consider bringing this question to your next PLC, staff meeting, or teachers' lounge discussion!

Image Credit: Gary G. Abud, Jr.