Despite the challenges, despite the toxic policies, despite the outpouring of “I Quit” letters, young future teachers are taking a stand.

Stephanie Rivera describes a new organization called the Young Teachers Collective. They will plow ahead. They will stick with their chosen profession. They are not afraid. They want to teach. They want to have a voice in the national debate about teaching. They want to give each other hope.

Stephanie started a resistance movement as an undergraduate, inspiring other young teachers to persist. Now she is a graduate student at Rutgers, and she believes in teaching and wants to work with others who have the same aspirations.

Here is the website for the Young Teachers Collective.

 

They say:

 

The current climate of the education system is not inviting. We constantly see poor reforms implemented by people the most distant from the classroom. We constantly hear “don’t go into teaching.” Regardless, we see the profession as something worth fighting for. In order to win this struggle, we understand the importance of coming together to support each other and lift each other up–even if it’s only through an online community. By creating this collective, we hope to:

 

Develop political consciousness among our peers that will be entering the education profession.

 

Develop the tools/skills necessary for young people to organize themselves.

 

Create a network of support while in college and during the first years of teaching

 

Provide young teachers with both a sense of hope and tools on how to fight for a better education system.

 

Advocate and work towards a common vision for the future of education

 

Strengthen our presence in discussions about education

 

Create a space to share\suggest resources to build consciousness as well as materials to use in the classroom

 

In order to do this we plan to engage in the following:

 

Weekly blog posts by members of YTC discussing an issue of their choice

 

Host monthly Twitter Chats. Our past chat includes improving teacher education.

 

Host monthly Google Hangouts

 

Host webinar workshops

 

Host workshops and\or discussions on our campuses\in community when possible

 

IMPORTANCE OF YOUNG AND FUTURE TEACHERS’ VOICES

 

“While many of us have been inspired by teacher-activists currently in the field, we have come to recognize the importance of creating our own collective voice. The voices of young and future teachers are largely ignored in the education movement. We are often dismissed because we are viewed as not having the experience to truly understand the issues facing public education. However, there is no doubt that our voices are valuable and even necessary in this struggle. We are in the unique position of simultaneously facing issues affecting both students and teachers. At the same time, this position presents different challenges that students and experienced teachers are not aware of. Young and future teachers are the only ones who can really speak to these challenges, which is why it is so important that we speak out and have our voices amplified.”

 

While it is heartening to see Stephanie Rivera and other future teachers taking action to save the profession they want to enter, there is something terribly sad about the fact that future teachers feel they must act to do so. In what other profession would future professionals feel they must try to save the profession before it is destroyed by malignant outside forces?