Teachers’ commitment and professionalism, along with the myriad issues they face every day in the classroom, was broadcast live to the nation yesterday during the NBCNews Education Nation Teacher Town Hall. A number of CEA members, along with over 300 other teachers from across the country, participated in the event hosted by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.
Here are thoughts on the Teacher Town Hall from three of the CEA members who attended.
David Bosso, Berlin teacher and Connecticut’s 2012 Teacher of the Year
I found that, while the time frame was very short to address many of the pressing issues in education today, it was a worthwhile and memorable event. This largely was due to the passion, expertise, and obvious dedication of the participating teachers who ably represented our profession. Anyone who watched the program or followed online should have gotten a much better appreciation of the commitment of teachers to our nation’s students and of the important work we do every day.
Faith Sweeney, Greenwich teacher
I felt very honored to attend Education Nation’s Teacher Town Hall. The topics were relevant to the current issues and challenges teachers face every day. We discussed the impact of poverty, evaluations, test scores, and much more. This forum gave teachers the opportunity to share stories and offer advice for possible solutions to improve achievement for all students. What makes an event like this so important is that it is on television and therefore gives a larger audience the chance to hear what’s going on in our schools. It is important for the general public to see and hear straight from teachers what our experiences are in the classroom and how we deal with these issues as we strive for excellence.
Kristen Record, Stratford teacher and Connecticut’s 2011 Teacher of the Year
I was really struck by NBC News Correspondent Rehema Ellis’s comments about the fact that teachers have a perception problem. Her thoughts about how to reframe important issues around students and classroom realities were quite apt. We, as a profession, need to do a better job of communicating how some of what we fight for in contracts and negotiations — from class sizes to use of instructional hours, to adequate heating and cooling systems — are our students’ learning conditions. We need to better re-frame the issues and lead the conversations about what goes on in our schools.There were also a lot of award-winning teachers in the audience — from State Teachers of the Year, to National Board Certified teachers, to Presidential Awardees. Those are the educational leaders I’d like to see up on stage leading these conversations.
I think you could tell from the audience that teachers are passionate about their profession and their students. The message that we go above and beyond, every day, all year, came through loud and clear to me.
I don’t want to end on a cynical note, because I really did think yesterday’s event was a good one, but sometime in the future I’d love to see the important issues brought up yesterday and the ongoing conversations take place in prime time, on ‘regular’ TV, rather than on cable on a Sunday afternoon. That’s when we’ll know that our country truly places a priority on public education.
If you missed the live event yesterday, you can watch the entire event online now.
Watch Kristen Record at Education Nation below.