Center for Inspired Teaching came into the new year excited to champion impactful teacher development and insightful student-led discourse. Our professional development programs for teachers and educators held numerous in-person seminars and events between January and March 2020. We championed teachers as changemakers within classrooms, and engaged students as active learners and critical thinkers to help them learn and achieve at high levels.
We hold sessions of Inspiring Changemakers and Critical Conversationalists on a monthly basis, but in January 2020 we held an additional special session to further enable teacher development. We brought the Speak Truth program to the Washington Teachers Union (WTU) Headquarters as part of an ongoing partnership between Inspired Teaching and WTU. We invited a larger group of DCPS teachers to view a small-session of Speak Truth and then participate in guided reflection and activities that teach them how to bring student-driven discourse into their own classrooms. It was a powerful session of Speak Truth where students discussed the rising costs of college tuition, with many teachers and leaders in education in attendance. Teachers left the session feeling empowered to bring student-led discourse into their own classrooms.
In February 2020, Speak Truth, Inspired Teaching's groundbreaking program that brings together high school students from public, charter, and independent schools across the region to engage in student-led discussion on powerful topics, held an intergenerational session at EL Haynes Public Charter School in honor of Black History Month. This is the one time that educators can join in with students for the discussion. The results were a powerful and diverse conversation on the topics of representation in video games; Black girls missing in DC; hip-hop-ology; the stigma around natural hair in school; and the “right” way to protest. We are proud of the way our city's young people and their teachers are engaging in civic (and civil!) discourse.
March 2020 has brought many new changes and challenges to the world, including education. In order to adapt to a virtual learning environment, Inspired Teaching is developing new ways to engage both teachers and students online. As a way to promote continued learning and exploration, we started the #Inspired2Learn challenge. We are posing daily challenges where students can utilize their at-home and in-neighborhood environment to learn, explore, grow and change. We welcome you to follow us and take an #Inspired2Learn challenge on your own or with a child or young person in your life!
In March, we held our monthly Speak Truth event as a virtual session. We were curious about how engaged students would be in a virtual setting, and the session turned out to be amazing! The official topic focused on the importance of Black teachers in schools that serve mostly students of color. The students had a lot to say, but the bottom line is that students deeply appreciate it when their teachers show they care. We look forward to continuing to host virtual seminars for as long as schools in the DC region remain closed.
Inspired Teaching is looking forward to another successful year of teacher and student engagement; and we are committed to working with all our partners to ensure the best outcomes for our communities.