Say What You Need to Say

Pictured with Dr. Holly Boffy

The second day of the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Convening took place at the San Antonio Museum of Texan Cultures. As we walked into the auditorium of the museum, I thought of John Mayer’s song, “Say What You Need to Say”, because the morning session was focused on developing our storytelling abilities.

Our facilitator for the storytelling session was Andy Goodman from the Goodman Center. After his introduction, Andy began by stating that “storytelling is the most powerful communication tool that we have”. Along with explaining this statement, he said that “no amount of data will change how minds work”. In order for our advocacy efforts to be successful, the State Teachers of the Year (STOYs) will need to wield our own personal stories and the stories of our students.

Next, Andy asked us to share with the teachers at our table a story about a time “we wanted something”. He asked us to identify the story that we most enjoyed. Three attendees then shared their stories with the entire group. Although each story had a different meaning, we realized that there were many common elements in the stories. He then asked us to follow an outline for developing a story about teaching. Again, a few teachers shared their stories, and we were asked to analyze the elements of each story. As the session came to a close, Andy reminded us that “stories get stored” in people’s minds.

Following lunch, we attended a technology workshop with Microsoft experts and another with a representative from the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab. She shared with us ways that we can use their digital resources. I was really excited to hear that we will be attending workshops at the Smithsonian Learning Lab when we travel to Washington, D. C.

We also got to witness a Naturalization Ceremony were hundreds of people took the “Oath of Allegiance” to become American citizens. I was not prepared for how incredibly moving the experience was to observe. It was such a privilege to witness such a significant moment in their lives.

Our last session of the day was focused on teacher evaluation policies. This was led by Caroline Wylie from Educational Testing Service and Dr. Holly Boffy. Holly is the 2010 Louisiana Teacher of the Year and serves on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). They shared with us the overarching principles of teacher evaluations and how the recent passing of “Every Student Succeeds Act” impacts teacher evaluations.

As we dined together, the STOYs continued to share their stories about their students and their states. We also talked about the ways the information we learned that day will aid us in our year as a STOY.

Stay tuned for part three of #NTOY16!

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