30 November 2008

Day 29: Teachers, Promote Thyselves!

Well, the "30 Days to Being a Better Blogger Challenge" is almost over. I'll be sad and a bit at loose ends when I no longer have a task each day. Today's challenge (or rather yesterday's, but I'm not getting to it until today) is to be a Rock Star. Yes, teacher, promote thyself.

I've noticed over the past couple of years that many teachers are loathe to promote their own accomplishments. I have found it difficult to get teachers to talk about their continuing education, professional memberships and activities or their honors and awards. When you do back them into a corner they will speak about it, but they seem to speak with great reluctance. I'm not sure why that is. I was part of this group in the past, but I'm getting better about letting people know what I am doing.

How have I done this? First, on my Retaggr card (which also serves as my profile here) I have put many of my professional activities including the fact that I'm a Teacher Consultant with the California Geographic Alliance (and have been since 1994), that I'm a Google Certified Teacher, and that I am a Certified Journalism Educator. I also added that I am the 2008 Secondary Teacher of the Year in my district. That was a hard one for some reason. I have also added my professional activities to my email signatures on my district and other email accounts. On my gmail account, I also added my Twitter name and this blog address. I even got business cards at 123Print. My business cards now have my professional affiliations, my Twitter name and my blog address.

There are a few things about which I am still not overly comfortable discussing. For example, I don't spend a great deal of time talking about my role as the lead California Coordinator for My Wonderful World, a National Geographic-led public awareness campaign to highlight the need for geographic education in our country. Within my geography circle, I do talk about the campaign, but at my site, I'm pretty quiet. I am fortunate that the district curriculum director is interested in the program, so she gets me talking about it all the time.

So...why is it that teachers seemingly don't want to be rock stars? I'm not sure. Has this post been easy to write? Not really. I wonder if there is something in our make up as educators that makes it difficult for us to promote ourselves. As educators, we do need to promote our accomplishments more. We can start within our own circles of education, but eventually we need to expand beyond that. Teachers, Promote Thyselves!