Boston teacher James Liou wants to start a conversation. The peer assistant for the Boston Public Schools has created a new website called The Teaching Pulse that he hopes will get teachers talking about their profession. Says Liou: “The hope is that the site becomes a forum for teachers from across the Boston Public Schools to share their opinions, learn from dynamic practicing teachers and connect with each other.”
And, once teachers get talking, says Liou, he hopes that district and union leaders will listen to what they have to say. “This is an opportunity for district and union leaders to be responsive to the opinions and ‘pulse’ of what classroom teachers across the city are feeling and saying.”
The Teaching Pulse is a direct response to the ‘teacher bashing’ that seems to be everywhere these days, the harsh rhetoric directed at teachers and their unions that has left many educators feeling dispirited. Liou’s solution is to turn down the volume and allow classroom educators to focus on what they actually do—and how they can do it better. Each month Liou plans to write a “Teacher Pulse” column for the Boston Union Teacher exploring a topic that will then be discussed online. Additional materials, including case-study highlights of classroom teachers, will also appear on the site.
One such topic: How can teachers in the Boston Public Schools model, facilitate and practice a collaborative relationship between labor and management that is focused on students, given the current context and climate of fiscal tightening, accountability and national ‘anti-teacher’ rhetoric?
Says Liou: “Success will depend upon the interest and participation of teachers from classrooms across the city, from art classrooms to AP classrooms, from early childhood to high school classrooms and from the small alternative ed programs to the large comprehensive high schools. I’m excited by the possibilities.”