Teacher Advocacy

Sadly, the ongoing conversation about school reform too often leaves out the voices of teachers—those who are most intimately acquainted with the day-to-day issues that impact students and their learning. The Eastern Michigan Writing Project believes that these voices are essential ones for policy makers to hear but we recognize as well the pressures on teachers to remain silent.

In workshops and follow-up conversations, EMWPers (and some NWP teacher consultants from around the country) have learned ways for teachers to safely enter these conversations.  They’ve learned to develop their personal stories into a more public narrative, starting from anecdotes and building toward an action plan.  And they’ve begun to put these action plans into practice, leading to identifiable change in their contexts.

Our own Beth Shaum made quite a splash nationally with the video she created as part of her advocacy work:

Why I Stay in Education

Learn more about how teachers are advocating for change in their contexts by attending their session this fall at NCTE’s annual convention. More information can be found here (NCTE 2015 Session).

NCTE's Teacher Advocacy Toolkit

Check out NCTE's Teacher Advocacy Toolkit created by EMWP's Dr. Cathy Fleischer. Below is Cathy's introduction to this resource: 

Everyday Advocacy Introduction

 Summer 2017 Workshop:

Telling Our Stories/Raising Our Voices: From Anecdote to Action


July 27-29, 2016   9am – 3pm each day

EMU Student Center, Room 300

In this workshop, we’ll help you become part of the school reform conversation as you learn how to develop your personal stories into a more public narrative, starting from anecdotes and building toward an action plan.  By the end of day 3, you should have an action plan to take back to your classroom and school.

Want to learn more? If you’re interested in EMWP’s Advocacy Workshop this summer, check out the NCTE Everyday Advocacy site,  developed by Cathy Fleischer and with examples from former Advocacy Workshop participants.

Facilitator: Dr. Cathy Fleischer, EMWP co-director and author of Teachers Organizing for Change.

To apply: 

Complete the application form by May 1, 2017. Registration is limited to 25 participants.

If more than 25 apply, teachers will be selected based on three criteria: (1) commitment to the topic; (2) school and subject area representation (i.e., diversity in grade level; school location; school size, etc.); and (3) connection to the NWP network.

Cost: $75 for the three days.

Action plans created in our workshops:

Dave Kangas and Kevin English

In order to reframe what counts as data in our school, we need to engage our colleagues in discussion about reading, reading instruction, and reading assessment.

Their tactics:

  • Forming a teacher/administrator book club
  • Getting appointed to the Literacy Committee
  • Participating in district wide PD
  • Working within the system to critically examine reading practices in order to design a more meaningful and relevant reading curriculum.

Jeffrey Taylor

Because middle school students are more likely to succeed when they feel they belong, I need to help administrators and teachers in my school re-think our current middle school structure and reinstate team teaching.

His tactics:

  • Surveyed students and teachers
  • Read deeply into school structuring
  • Made allies among colleagues
  • Presented elevator speech to administrator
  • discussion at a staff meeting