Many educators chose this profession to impact the future through children. Teachers learn early on that they are expected to do much more than teach curriculum; they are expected to go above and beyond to affect positive change in the lives of parents, students and the surrounding community. However, sometimes it is difficult for educators to know how to affect change outside of the classroom and develop their voice as professionals. Here are four tips to help you get started finding your voice as an educational leader.
- Join social media and grow your PLN. Social media is no longer only used for sharing pictures. It is now one of the hottest ways to stay current in education. Even if you do not use them socially, you can use them professionally. It opens you up to information and people you never had access to before. Those connections you make on social media can add to your professional learning network. Start collaborating with these people to build your super pack of educators that will always be in your corner. You will quickly see the value of learning through social media.
- Question yourself. Start the process by asking yourself what is really important to you and where you want to be in 5 years. As educators, of course we care about every aspect of our careers; however, what is your passion? Find it and concentrate your energy towards it. Also, ask yourself where you want to be in 5 years. This will give your career some focus and yourself a goal to attain. Even if you love what you currently do and want to be in the same position in 5 years, how do you want to grow in that position in 5 years?
- Start sharing. Remember, you are doing these steps to find YOUR voice. So start sharing all of the awesome things you do and all of the amazing ideas you have! You may think everyone does what you do and everyone knows what you know, but you are wrong! Only you think of things the way you do and we need your perspective! You never know who you can help and inspire by simply sharing with others.
- Start creating. Eventually, you will feel the itch to start creating things yourself. Whether it be a Twitter chat, a Facebook group, an after school program, a parent mentoring program, offering training, starting a blog, sharing your resources and materials or anything else, you will want to start creating opportunities for yourself while you are participating in opportunities created by others.
So, think big and start small. Once you begin to find your voice, you will notice more and more opportunities to use it to affect positive change in education. You will feel empowered toadvocate on behalf of yourself and for those who have yet to find their voice. You will then be an educational leader. We need you. We want you. So get started finding your voice!