Schools have changed. Learning has changed. The personal lives of everyone involved in those systems have changed. And they’re still changing, after two years of a brutal pandemic, untold economic hardship, political polarization and social unrest. No one understands this more intimately than the teachers, school leaders and students who live through it every day.
Elevating the diverse voices of educators—particularly the perspectives of those traditionally marginalized—is critical for making change. That’s especially important at this moment, during what appears to be an inflection point in the history of American education.
During this period of upheaval, we’ve amplified the voices of educators as they navigate the fallout from the pandemic through our Voices of Change project, creating opportunities for educators to reflect, share and learn from one another through journalism, storytelling and research.
Just over a year ago, our journalists and researchers set out to better understand the mental health of students and educators and to learn how school communities are supporting resilience and well-being. We explored how school counselors are addressing their implicit biases, how educators are rethinking homework following a year of remote learning and why it’s important to talk about teacher trauma. And two reporters investigated challenges facing the workforce, one diving into the side hustles and second jobs teachers rely on to make ends meet, and the other examining a growing mental health crisis that is taking some teachers out of the profession altogether.
We sought out new voices from across the country, publishing a collection of first-person accounts written by educators and researchers about the subtle and significant ways their work and lives have changed since early 2020.
We also launched our first-ever writing fellowship for an inaugural cohort of seven distinguished educators spurring change in their communities. These fellows explored the intersections of personal and professional identity, building relationships, and reimagining curriculum and instruction for a new generation of learners. They penned deeply moving essays that gave us a glimpse inside the experimental successes and failures that defined their careers and courageously reflected on their experiences confronting trauma, teaching inclusive sex education and drawing from Indigenous knowledge.
Meanwhile, EdSurge researchers facilitated community engagement events, such as our Virtual Learning Circles, bringing together diverse educators from across the country to connect, reflect and share about issues they’re facing in their practice.
We’re excited to share that EdSurge will be continuing this work over the next two years as we expand our Voices of Change project, which, like previous years, is being produced with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. As always, EdSurge maintains editorial independence over all of our journalism, in keeping with our ethics statement.
As we expand this work, our team is gearing up to launch the application for a new cohort of Voices of Change writing fellows, a paid opportunity (subscribe to our K-12 newsletter for the latest on the fellowship). Our reporters and contributors will continue tackling familiar themes—identity exploration and development, relationship-building, the mental health and well-being of educators and students—and a clutch of related issues. And our research team will be focusing on the experiences of traditionally underrepresented educators.
We’ll continue spotlighting new voices and perspectives on how school models, instructional practices and the experiences of students and educators are changing, so if you’re an educator or school leader with a story idea you’d like to share, please fill out our brief pitch form, and an editor may be in touch to help shape it into a story (we now pay $150 for all such published submissions). And if you’re a freelance journalist with a great story idea, feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.