Serving as an education advocate to advance the lives and learning of students is an extraordinary, selfless service for anyone to undertake. Navigate through the difficulties of advocating for students to have better resources. And, supporting teachers to be treated as trusted professionals rather than glorified babysitters is a fantastic start.
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. – Aristotle
Teachers these days have tremendous work to do daily. Marching into school each day, they don’t always know what to envisage as students often need them to fulfill different roles. The various roles they play include being their confidante, Emergency Medical Technicians, librarians, guidance counselors… and the list never ends. The time left for them to actually reform education is minimal or nonexistent. It is time we all become the people they can count on; let’s all become education advocates.
The following steps are guidelines for becoming an education advocate and transforming the system inside out.
1. Make Schools Safer
Help organise a school safety advisory panel comprising educators, administrators, mental-health professionals, local government officials, and law enforcement officials, in your community schools. Begin with one school. Meet to discuss ways of promoting harmony and problem-solving skills within the school. Get the input of the students at the school and ask them what would make them feel safer at their school. Use their opinions in decision-making.
2. Address Abuse and Neglect
More often than not, we have to tackle the issues that occur outside school hours, but which still negatively influence a child’s development. Child abuse and neglect are extremely sensitive issues that require a passionate team of adults to intervene when a parent, relative, or guardian is harming a student.
Begin with researching the most common signs of abuse and neglect, then keep an eye out for them when you relate with children. If you suspect a child is in an unsafe situation, document what you’ve seen, heard, or experienced and contact a counselor or administrator to decide next steps.
3. Bring Attention to Underprivileged Students
Life is unfair; there is no question about that. There are schools that have access to higher-quality resources than others. In the United States, in April 2018, a young female student in Oklahoma found celebrity, Blake Shelton’s handwritten name in the textbook she was using, with his signature from 1982. April 2018 was the same period when teachers went on strike in the effort to gain additional funding for education. Teachers stormed grassroots movements like the statewide efforts bringing attention to issues affecting destitute populations, such as the lack of access to resources, school conditions, and funding inequities. The biggest step in solving a problem is letting people know that the problem exists; so let’s spread the word!
4. Meet With Policy Makers
Often, lawmakers believe they are the authorities regarding the issues that are affected by laws that they pass. Confront legislators to learn more about the problems facing schools located in their communities and offer to guide them through the process of producing resolutions that will improve education.
5. Master Advocacy Right
Serving as an education advocate to advance the lives and learning of students is an extraordinary, selfless service for anyone to undertake. Navigate through the difficulties of advocating for students to have better resources. And, supporting teachers to be treated as trusted professionals rather than glorified babysitters is a fantastic start. Create positive change by talking about the unbelievable difference educators make in the lives of their students, as well as the challenges they face.
Understand that serving as an education advocate is tough and frustrating, so don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’re not making the progress you hoped for right away. The work is grueling, but the rewards are incomparable when progress is made to serve students.