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Teaching and Yearning: Collecting and Connecting

Our world is in the midst of a collective period of reflection. It is natural to take stock after life-changing events, and try to make sense of it all. In K-12 education, the foundational disruption to our routines (and teachers LOVE their routines!) has shaken up our professional lives in ways most couldn’t have imagined. While the dust is far from settled, what seems most clear is that innovation has become one of our most essential lifelines. Our time in isolation made the space for reflection and individual ideation. How do we harvest those ideas to make teaching and learning better?


Innovageous has been busy since The Neubauer Family Foundation’s Re-Start Grant for Neubauer Fellows helped us connect diverse professionals through our focus groups on the national teacher shortage. In response to your call to action, we will launch our Innovageous TEACH (Taking Effective Action to Cultivate Hope) Collectives this month. Each TEACH Collective is a three-session series grounded in Design Thinking practices and action research focused on a key question that emerged from our initial focus groups. Where our focus groups centered on listening, our TEACH Collectives will center on co-creating solutions, learning from experts and one another to take effective action together.


The first of these TEACH Collectives will steer our movement to amplify teacher stories, focusing on the question:

Who can tell authentic (not toxically positive!) stories in compelling ways to change the public perception of teaching as a horrible, low-paying, disrespected, and stressful obligation into teaching as a fulfilling, joyful, sustainable vocation?


Our social media kit is just the beginning. In what ways might we ensure that historically marginalized teachers’ stories are celebrated in equitable ways? In what ways might these stories inspire young people considering teaching as a profession to lean in? Where beyond social media might these stories take root and grow? Every movement needs champions. This movement needs you.


Our second TEACH Collective will focus on connecting schools to one another to increase equitable access to advanced and specialized learning opportunities for all students by addressing the question:


How might we connect schools together to provide advanced and goal-specific learning opportunities for students through job sharing without needing to dedicate a full-time staff member to teach highly specialized content?


Many teachers learned the power of collaboration in their own classrooms with the Think-Pair-Share instructional routine, where students, instead of just answering a question with their own knowledge, connect with another student before sharing out. What if schools shared more by tapping into the knowledge of other schools and sharing professional expertise in advanced and specialized courses? Through the Sync-Rare-Share TEACH Collective - we will design systems and resources for school communities to SYNC up about RARE course offerings and innovageously SHARE teachers across schools.


Each question we generated in our focus groups deserves the thoughtful attention that collecting and connecting bring. In this time of healing, however, during what many teachers have cited as the most exhausting school year of their careers, we chose these two initiatives because of their capacity to yield hope on a short timeline. Dr. Vivek Murthy, our current US Surgeon General said, “Where loneliness has the potential to kill, connection has even more potential to heal.” So, we connect. We connect people to stories. We connect teachers and schools to one another. And, we connect students to opportunities. And through our TEACH Collectives, we empower both teachers and our public to learn. Because, as Leonardo DaVinci once said, “Learning never exhausts the mind.”


You can RSVP for TEACH Collective here: https://forms.gle/fXnPRtR44QghpRQg9