Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Could We Improve Education By a Teacher PR Corps?

June 21, 2013

“Teachers are lazy babysitters.”

“No we’re not! We work harder and more hours than you can imagine!”

Has the education debate devolved into this? What is missing from this toxic back-and-forth of teacher bashing versus teacher martyring is the actual SUBSTANCE of what we teachers do each day. Just as I have learned immensely about health care from reading vignettes by Atul Gawande about his life as a doctor, it is time for teachers voices to travel outside the education sphere by sharing stories of what we REALLY do with a wider audience.

Most of you would agree: There is a crisis now in how teachers are viewed. Sometimes we’re seen as martyrs, victims, or ragged saints, while others view our profession as low-level, boring, incompetent, or lazy. However, we can transform education by shifting these incorrect narratives!

To improve the world’s perspective on teachers and thus alter how education is done, we need a Teacher PR Corps. This Corps could create articles, interviews with teachers, art, and short videos to capture slices of the best of what teaching is. These products would then be published in print and online publications that are read outside of the education sphere.

Our goal would be for people in other careers to be able to quickly and clearly digest the article or video, then smile and say something like, “Wow! I never knew that teachers were this intellectual, fun, insightful, creative, and important!” These pieces must add complexity and depth to the discussion of who teachers are, thus shifting how education is dealt with. Let us surmount the negativity and go beyond the cliches!

So what do you think? What ideas or suggestions do you have about a Teacher PR Corps?
 
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