(Is teaching enough?)
While How to Teach Without Screaming focuses on solutions inside classrooms and schools, we know that what happens in the outside world affects our students and us in often powerful ways.
We are living in frustrating times where politicians blame teachers for society’s ills, where funding for education is not a priority, where the military budget is massive and the education budget is small, and where teacher salaries in most states are low.
An essential solution to this unfortunate situation calls for teachers to work through their unions, professional associations, and whenever possible with community organizations, to press for changes that we need to make our teaching more enjoyable and effective for all concerned as well as to improve our society overall. If necessary, teachers can follow the lead of teachers in places like West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Seattle, Chicago and other states who have gone on strike, garnered incredible support from their communities and won victories not only for themselves and their students, but also for others.
For example, a nine-day teacher strike in 2018 in West Virginia, which closed all public schools, resulted in victories that included a 5% pay raise that applied to all public sector workers, not just teachers.
Here is a list of some organizations whose websites feature stories of creative teaching; descriptions of beneficial books and other resources for teachers and students; how to address controversial issues; examples of outreach beyond the school to help with community, state-wide and national projects; descriptions of teacher-led organizations working for social change and more:
Educators for Social Responsibility
Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
Teaching for Change
Teaching Tolerance – Diversity, Equity and Justice, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center
Zinn Education Project
It is difficult for educators to add something else to their often, all-consuming job of preparing for classes and teaching them, some needing to have a second job to make ends meet, as well as family responsibilities. However, those who can fit in one more thing and find an organization whose goals they can support will have the added satisfaction of knowing that by uniting to improve education and/or joining with others to resolve related societal issues, we can help build a movement that can create a brighter future for all of us and for generations to come.