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Reclaiming Our Why

Walter Brown, Kate Spence — Walter- Hudson High School of Learning Technologies (NYC Public School), Kate Spence - Fairleigh Dickinson University

We chose to become educators because we are (were) passionate about [we each fill in the blank differently here]. Our time in (and out) of schools and collaborating with students and colleagues these past few years may have brought challenges that call this passion into question or buoy us with optimism for our students, their successes, and the future. For years, conversations about teachers staying or leaving the classroom have returned to a clear commonality amongst those who have stayed in teaching, or education more broadly: we are motivated by a strong sense of purpose (Nieto, 2003; 2015). Choi (2022), in his text Sparks into Fire: Revitalizing Teacher Practice through Collective Learning states

“Spending time to clarify and reconnect with our purpose as teachers and educational leaders seems like a luxury that there just isn’t time for. And yet, if we don’t attend to our purpose and continue to cultivate it, we may lose our passion for the work; we burn out” (p.4).

“Through the sharing of our stories, we are reminded about our purpose and what matters to us at a fundamental level… Stories of purpose give us … ‘courage to act’” (p. 5).

In this session, we will engage in conversations about our purposes, perhaps even rekindling our respective purposes, through structured reflection, relevant discussion and writing prompts, and time to share. Participants will have the opportunity to record a short video (e.g. through flipgrid or on their devices) to document their purpose right now.

Conversational Practice

Using a combination of structured conversational protocols and discussion and writing prompts, participants will engage in conversations about our purpose for teaching or being in education. Participants will have the opportunity to record a short video (e.g. through flipgrid or on their devices) to document their purpose right now.

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