Last year there was buzz on our #MichEd Voxer group about America Achieves and the Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship. There was curiosity about what it was, who was behind it, and what they ultimate goal was. To be honest, I think most people were a bit skeptical. After the first cohort went through the training and connected with other educators from around Michigan, they were able to share out about their experiences, and we learned that America Achieves was really out to amplify teachers’ voices. I was also able to see the close connections of the educators that were part of the first cohort when I attended MACUL last March, and it was clear that there was a special bond between the members.
I was fortunate enough to be nominated by Heather Gauck, who is now a Lead Fellow for America Achieves. She has been such an advocate for the program since she became part of it, and I was excited to have the opportunity to join. At the beginning of this week we had our first convening at the beautiful Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids. I was unable to attend a majority of the sessions on Monday, as I was presenting at the Oakland Schools Educational Technology Conference, but I was able to still get the main idea of this program...support for teachers!
America Achieves and the Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship is truly there to amplify and support the voice of educators! Through the sessions, we learned the tricks of the trade in speaking with policy makers, giving elevator pitches, writing opinion editorials, and using social media to the fullest to share the awesome things happening in our classrooms and schools. The fellowship allows us to have resources to get our voices heard, much like our personal PR team. It was empowering to know that they were on our side and valued our opinions...something we as teachers don’t always feel. In fact, over the last few days, I have felt much more empowered. I feel empowered to let other teachers know how awesome they are and to encourage them to find their voice, empowered to speak up and impact the changes happening in our schools, and empowered to go after opportunities that I haven’t tried before!
I am truly looking forward to being part of this fellowship, as I have always been interested in impacting the bigger picture and improving the education system as a whole! I look forward to the wonderful opportunities that will be presented, and I am very honored to be part of such an impressive group of teachers and principals from around the state of Michigan.