January 29, 2017

What Can I Do?

I don't enjoy politics. I never watch political TV shows and I mostly avoided reading about politics before this year. This past week has been intense - it's hard to look at social media but it's also hard to stay away (please try to find some balance as part of your #radicalselfcare). There are a lot of ways to make a difference on any issue (you have a voice, use it wisely) but let's talk about specifically standing up for education.

We can stand up individually and share what we know about any edu-jargon that's being used. For some of us that means informing ourselves from reputable sources first (the charter schools in my district aren't the only types of charter schools).

We can share experiences as a group - I'd love to get our inside #MTBoS projects like one good thing and day in the life to a broader audience.

We can join and be active in our professional networks because the 60,000 members of NCTM could be a powerful force. They are already tracking policy changes (did you know there is a monthly capitol report? I just discovered it!) and have had representatives in closed door meetings with high ranking politicians in the past. You may have noticed people tweeting about being on committees in the past and wondered how to get involved. Mostly it seems that NCTM selects people by nomination - either someone on the committee knows you or someone else nominates you - but you can also volunteer! I wish the latter system was the norm. I've been asked to be on a team (last year) and a committee (the next three years). While it is an honor to receive an invitation from Matt Larson and I was appreciative enough to accept, I wish that someone who was excited about these topics rather than merely willing could be serving instead. (I'm really throwing myself under the bus here... I promise I did a good job, enjoyed working with my team and will be an enthusiastic helpful member of EMC.) There are 15 committees and two positions open up per committee each year. Read about them, check them out and volunteer for the ones that interest you! I received my email for EMC in October but I don't know if that is when all the requests go out. There's not time like the present to fill out that form though! Especially because...

If you've already served on a committee then you can apply to be on the board! Those nominations are due by March 1 so this is more time sensitive. NCTM is looking to work with MTBoS people - they've made that clear by attending TMC, merging with the Math Forum and asking advocates of our community to serve on their teams. NCTM is not the perfect organization (yet!), but it's the professional organization for our career of choice and we should be making it work for us. Yes, I definitely wish that capitol report was an RSS feed, but both @NCTM and @mlarson_math were impressively responsive even over the weekend as we asked questions about this process (shout out to Carl for setting a reminder to have this discussion).

We know so many people think they're an experts on education, just ten days ago Trump called it a very easy subject (I don't pretend to know if that was genuine or sarcasm, feel free to form your own opinion around minute 12:50). We need to work together to stand up for our students and inform the public around the important issues in our field. Please leave a comment with what you're committing to do and if you need help!

I'm committing to completing my year in the life of a teacher project but I'm wishing there was something we could start doing with all that material sooner than this summer when the year ends. I'm hoping someone will take my "quotes like a page a day calendar" idea and turn it into something cool. It could potentially work with one good thing as well...

1 comment:

  1. I would also add that another way teachers can get involved is at the local level with your state's NCTM affiliate. And this will also make you eligible to apply to be on the board down the road should you so choose!