Things I Know 209 of 365: Teachers neglect their Teacher Voices

There is no index of character so sure as the voice.

– Benjamin Disraeli

More than once when speaking to a room crowded with non-students I’ve forgone a microphone and decided to use my “teacher voice.”

I usually make reference to my choice, and people chuckle and nod knowingly.

Everyone knows the teacher voice.

In all the talking of toolkits and techniques, the teacher voice rarely, if ever, comes up.

We’ll discuss cooperative learning strategies and phonemic awareness until we’re offered early retirement, but the teacher voice gets no play.

Until Monday when Chicago school teacher Adam Heenan launched his “Use Your Teacher Voice” campaign.

Heenan is asking teachers to create 30-second videos in which they talk about any edu-topic they’d like. His only requirement, they use their teacher voices. (He’d also prefer they remain civil.)

Heenan claims “our authority, our teacher identity has been taken away or stolen from us. In others cases we just haven’t capitalized on the opportunities to say what we love about teaching and what we believe needs to change in ways that are best for teaching and learning.”

I agree.

As of this writing, Heenan’s Teacher Voice channel on Youtube has only two uploads.

But, word is spreading.

I’m excited to see more.

I’m excited to make my own.

Everyone has an opinion about public education, and most people see themselves as education experts because the majority of Americans spent around 13 years of their lives in public education systems.

Still, teachers are the authority.

They know classrooms and the work it takes to make them places of safety, learning, creativity and community better than anyone else.

Heenan’s campaign encourages teachers to speak with authority to their own authority.

It’s a great way to spend 30 seconds.


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