Issue Theme: Raising Our Teacher Voices


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Issue Theme: Raising Our Teacher Voices

Calls for Manuscripts

OFFICE HOURS: We Are Listening
Shelbie Witte, Sara Kajder

About the Authors

Leading the Call: The Consequences of Inaction
Kylene Beers
Abstract: Educator Kylene Beers extends a conversation from the 2015 NCTE Annual Convention with advice for early-career teachers working to balance the mandated curriculum and the desire to serve the students. The key is learning to be an advocate.

NCTE and Teacher Advocacy: A Conversation between Leaders
Emily Kirkpatrick, Susan Houser, and Nick Thompson
Abstract: Voices from the Middle editors facilitate a conversation between NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick and President-Elect and 2016 Annual Convention Chair Susan Houser about what to expect at the upcoming 2016 NCTE Annual Convention and what advocacy means to them.

YA VOICES: Branch to Branch
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Abstract: For the YA Voices feature, young adult authors, in their own voices and words, share what’s on their minds and in their hearts related to young adults and the power of YA novels. This month, New York Times bestselling author Lynda Mullaly Hunt explores the many specific ways that we, as teachers, can impact the lives and futures of children and the importance of seeing the child before the student. She also discusses the specific teachers who changed her life as a kid and how one of them became the inspiration for her second novel, Fish in a Tree.

Everyday Advocacy: The New Professionalism for Teachers
Cathy Fleischer
Abstract: How might teachers help revise the dismissive public narrative about education? Educators who have participated in advocacy workshops share specific strategies for making their voices heard and creating change in their own school communities. As they learn how to create change in smart, savvy, and safe ways, these teachers now view advocacy as part of a new professional stance.

COLLABORATIVE VOICES: Whose Shiny Is It?: Collaborating with Kid Advocates
Jennifer Ochoa
In Collaborative Voices, teachers and other literacy professionals will share ways that they are engaging in collaboration with the many stakeholders of a middle school and community, including one another. With a growing emphasis on engaging students in advocacy work and service-learning, it can be a challenge to provide the kind of guidance students need to remain engaged in such work. Inspired by Kathy Short’s Presidential Address and the 2015 NCTE Annual Convention, Ochoa embarks on a plan to really include students in planning advocacy on their own terms, without imposing her own ideas on the project and making it her “shiny” rather than theirs.

NEW VOICES: Renewing Our Call To Teach
Christopher Lehman
Abstract: The New Voices column explores the struggles, successes, and dreams of early-career middle level educators, from preservice through sixth year. This inaugural column introduces some of those voices and point to the core reason to be part of the teaching profession: the students.

“An Offense to Their Human Rights”: Connecting Bud, Not Buddy to the Flint Water Crisis with Middle School ELA Students
Matthew Knieling
Abstract: This article explains how a middle school ELA teacher used Christopher Paul Curtis's Bud, Not Buddy to engage students in a research project on Flint, Michigan's water crisis. The article offers insights into the capabilities of middle school students by highlighting their work and their voices. The students in this classroom displayed an ability to demonstrate critical perspectives and genuine empathy, pose challenging questions, make thoughtful connections between their research and the novel, and employ complicated rhetorical strategies to convey their idea, all of which challenge the oftentimes low expectations of young students, especially students-of-color and low-income students.

STUDENT VOICES: Let’s Not Leave Story Behind
Linda Rief
Abstract: Linda Rief crafts this column, writing alongside her middle school students, to show the beauty and possibilities that lie within the words our students use to make sense of their world. This month, Rief points out the connection between writing and memory and how teachers can help students understand their lives through storytelling.

Get Up, Stand Up: How and Why Teachers Must Identify as Advocates
Christian Z. Goering and P. L. Thomas
Abstract: We argue in this space that the public narrative surrounding the current state of education in the United Stated doesn’t have to be negative. We believe fervently that if more teachers took up the mantle of advocacy for the profession of education, misguided narratives would be less likely to dominate policy and practice decisions being made that negatively impact the well-being of our students, not to mention that of our profession.

“The Biggest Surprise Was the Feeling of Empowerment”: Teachers Sharing Stories for Advocacy and Transformation
Sarah Hochstetler, Mark Letcher, Lindsay Jeffers, Amber Warrington, and Eileen Buescher
Abstract: Under current political conditions, classroom teachers may feel undervalued and isolated, as they attempt to incorporate best practices. This article invites middle level educators to share stories from the classroom in a public forum, like a blog, where those committed to advocacy and effective ELA instruction can empathize, strategize, and celebrate the excellent work of students and teachers. Speaking back to policy through online outlets driven by narrative and supported by research can effectively inform stakeholders and may serve as an avenue to affect change.

We Are Our Stories: A Conversation with Jeff Anderson
R. Joseph Rodríguez
Abstract: Jeff Anderson, author and professional learning guru, reveals in this conversation his own writing process and life commitment to literature, teachers, readers, and writers across the country. The conversation was conducted at a time of change and struggle in public education and for literacy advancements among middle-grade students.

Matthew Skillen
Abstract: Each issue will include a special message from members of the Middle Level Section. This issue includes Section Chair Matthew Skillen’s preview of what the 2016 NCTE Annual Convention has in store for those interested in Middle Level matters.