Today marks the last day of a busy NEA Representative Assembly for delegates from across the country who have been hard at work on behalf of public education students and teachers. In addition to debating and voting on a long list of new business items, delegates heard from National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples who left them with an inspiring call to tell their stories, because “stories have a unique power” and “stay after the data fades.”
Peeples, a high school English teacher from Amarillo, Texas, said, “Our critics love cliches and simplistic slogans and manipulated data. This is how they attack. And the good news about that is the utter banality of those attacks. Stories are different. There is no defense against a good story. I contend that we advocate best for our students and our profession when we are brave enough to tell our stories.”
She went on to tell her own story to the assembled delegates. A story of a little girl in dark circumstances whose teachers were her lights and guides to a better and brighter place. A story that speaks far better to the power of teachers than any data ever could.
Watch Peeples’ moving speech below, and remember to tell your stories.