Teachers can and should be agents of change, rather than subjects of change.
Whether you're a teacher in Watts or the Bronx, as both of us were, all educators share the monumental responsibility of having to make important decisions that impact the lives and educational development of countless children inside their classrooms. As second and tenth grade teachers, we understood that to be truly effective educators, we were required to be totally immersed in the task of helping our students become engaged and inspired during the learning process. It was up to us to figure out how to do that. Each day was an exercise in finding the right mix of rigor, fun, and differentiation.
But here lies the inherent tension that comes with teaching: teachers likes us have tremendous responsibility and independence in our classrooms, yet we found we had little to no voice in creating the policies that govern our schools, district, union, and state. We had the responsibility of getting our students to the next level, yet that mission was often completely separated from policy decisions crafted by those outside the classroom.