Teachers have amazing stories to tell. These stories occur on a daily basis because of the many interactions teachers have with their students, their students’ families, their colleagues, and the community. Often times, these stories do not make the television or newspaper headlines, and that is a shame. These stories are the emotional bonds that link teachers and students, teachers and teachers, and teachers and the community. These stories are what make teaching so rewarding.
Think of the student who made tremendous growth in her reading abilities this year. How is her story going to be told? Think of the student who applied his understanding of bar graphs and his knowledge of football to demonstrate a running back’s yards per season over time. How is his story going to be told? Think of the student who is a peer tutor to another student and spends part of recess helping this younger student learn to add and subtract. How is this story going to be told? Think of the student who came up with the idea to have a school store selling items with the school mascot on them. How is this story going to be told? Think of the teacher who organized a flashlight drive for the homeless in her town to have light in the nighttime. How is this story going to be told?
The reality is that if these stories are not told, no one will know. But these are the stories we want to share. These are the stories we need to share. These are the stories that help schools create an image and a brand. If these stories are not told by the school, they will not be told. Schools need to be marketing and branding experts to share their purpose and mission, their traditions, and the things their students are learning.
When the focus is on the positive stories and traditions of a school, everyone—students, staff, and families—can be proud of the school and all the school community has to offer. Sharing these positive stories is a way to promote the good happening in schools.
These stories can be told in a variety of ways. Through the use of technology and social media, stories can be easily shared by students, families, and staff members. They can be posted on a school’s website, blog, or Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts, and they can also be shared through word of mouth. As the year begins to wind down, I encourage everyone to share their stories. Share the stories that make you want to come back to school each day, more excited than the day before. The method of delivery is not as important as making sure the story is shared. Shout it from the rooftops for all to hear.
Matt Wachel is an elementary assistant principal for Park Hill School District in Missouri. He is a 2015 ASCD Emerging Leader and a coauthor of the book Having an Impact on Learning. Connect with Wachel on ASCD EDge® or on Twitter @mattwachel.