Teacher Elevation Week

5-Day Campaign Results:

Share a teacher’s story on social media:

Click on any teacher below. You’ll find easy ways to share at the bottom of each post!

  • “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.”

    “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.”

    If our boys are in trouble, our society is in trouble. It’s hard to be what you can’t see.

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  • “The arts enhance every part of education.”

    “The arts enhance every part of education.”

    I’ve been told, “this student can’t read” or “they’re a non-reader.” But in my class, in my play, they’ve learned their lines. So I believe strongly: the arts enhance every part of education.

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  • “The classroom needs to be that space for dialogue.”

    “The classroom needs to be that space for dialogue.”

    The fear in my mind of saying the wrong thing is a fear I have as a teacher constantly.  And that scares me as an educator who constantly is trying to create positive dialogue that considers all sides of the debate.

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  • “This is my 9 to 5.”

    “This is my 9 to 5.”

    I remember that Monday morning getting an email from our principal. We had lost a student. And I froze. I remember calling to the security guards, “Hey, watch my class.”

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  • “We’re not trying to do that anymore.”

    “We’re not trying to do that anymore.”

    I just love that she had that moment of feeling like a kid, and not feeling like she’s carrying anything… And hopefully she remembers that forever, ’cause I will. 

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  • “When you see a teacher, it’s really a community.”

    “When you see a teacher, it’s really a community.”

    I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia. Inner city, poverty-stricken area. My sister and I are first generation in our family to go to college and to get our advanced degrees.

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  • “Your calling is way beyond content.”

    “Your calling is way beyond content.”

    I think it was the first time that I realized how much impact teachers have. The experience that you give the learners in your classroom can change the paths that they walk for the rest of their lives.

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  • A high school trucking program

    A high school trucking program

    It was about the third classroom I walked into that I saw a distinct pattern. It was in the written instructions that the teacher would leave for me. It’s called the sub plans. And at the bottom of all the sub plans was always a list of students’ names. And above that list of names…

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  • Aidn White

    Aidn White

    I grew up in Wisconsin with nine younger cousins and two younger siblings. I was constantly asked to babysit them, from the time I was nine years old all the way until I left for college. At the time, I hated it. I had to give up playtime to watch my younger cousins or make…

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  • Amy Traynor

    Amy Traynor

    Early on in my career, I was more afraid of talking to parents. But I had a principal who said, ‘If you’re not calling them first with a positive, then when you call them with a negative, it’s going to be harder.’ So I tried to do that. And I have had great success with…

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  • Ashley Kannan

    Ashley Kannan

    I grew up in Oak Park in the 1980s. People were all about the melting pot. The idea was that everyone is the same and nobody looks different — we’re all part of this collective homogenous blob. One of the drawbacks to that was that I was never really seen.

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  • Benjamin Grignon

    Benjamin Grignon

    I was full-on ready to be a full-time artist. And then I was invited to be a teacher at a summer institute in Denver, through the Native American Youth Outreach Program. I think it was seeing those kids connect to our traditional arts — part of our cultural inheritance that they had little exposure to…

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  • BryAnn Sandy

    BryAnn Sandy

    I was born in Brooklyn. I grew up from pre-K to seventh grade in the Bronx — but then they started to raise the rent. The buildings were terrible. My mom told us the rent prices and the conditions of living were not adding up, and when they raised the rent again, that was the…

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  • Chris Madson

    Chris Madson

    I was in high school at the height of the AIDS crisis. And as a 13- and 14-year-old, I would sneak away into the city to meet up with this group of people, mostly gay men and Black women, who were part of ACT UP — a group who did intense activism around access to…

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  • Dan Shutes

    Dan Shutes

    The bulk of my fifth graders are just excited to see me. They want to talk to you in their downtime. They want to sit by you at lunch, and they want you to come to recess with them. That feeling is the driving force that made me become a teacher.

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  • Dana Guenterberg

    Dana Guenterberg

    I was pretty close with my brother. He ended up going to jail when I was in fourth grade. We were having morning meeting at school, and the question that day was, ‘How are you feeling?’

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  • Diana Callope

    Diana Callope

    I have one student who really sticks out in my mind. I had him in my class when I taught seventh grade, and then he was in my class again when I switched to eighth grade. So I got to have him in my math class two years in a row. And he would do…

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  • Dillin Randolph

    Dillin Randolph

    When I was a teenager, I had summer jobs as a custodian. It paid pretty well. So when I got to college, even though I was working as an office assistant in the pharmacy department, I decided to look for more hours cleaning schools. I figured I could do that until I got my degree…

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  • Elliott Hile

    Elliott Hile

    I was the kid who was under the table with a fireman’s helmet on, covering his ears because he didn’t understand what people were saying. I would get frustrated all the time because I didn’t understand multiple syllable words. So in elementary school, I was diagnosed with dyslexia.

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  • Francis Pina

    Francis Pina

    I wanted to work at the Boston Federal Reserve and go to the London School of Economics. But I graduated in 2009, and there were no jobs available, due to the housing crisis and Great Recession. So I started working at a local public charter school.

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  • Hispanic Heritage Month: Educators Share Their Thoughts

    Hispanic Heritage Month: Educators Share Their Thoughts

    Educators share their thoughts on Hispanic Heritage Month. This year’s theme is Building Prosperous and Healthy Communities, and we’re here to elevate and support a strong community of educators.

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  • Hot chocolate and parents as partners

    Hot chocolate and parents as partners

    In that moment, just sitting there enjoying that with them, I noticed that I was not doing those things as much in my last couple years of teaching. Because I was so exhausted. And those special moments that made me have this great connection with my students, those special moments that made me love my…

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  • Ja’Rahn Leveston

    Ja’Rahn Leveston

    My mom taught for 30 years. And after I went to grad school she said, ‘Why don’t you get some experience in the city schools?’ I did it, and I haven’t left. You get really attached to the work and the students, especially once you see them meet the standards that you help them set…

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  • Jenna Hewitt King

    Jenna Hewitt King

    I went to high school here in San Leandro, at the school where I teach. We have three ‘academy programs,’ where students can apply to go through 10th through 12th grade in cohorts focused on multimedia, business and finance, or social justice. I was in the cohort called Social Justice Academy, so I took my…

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  • Jessica Lander

    Jessica Lander

    I have the honor and joy of teaching U.S. history and civics to recent immigrant and refugee students. My students come from more than 30 countries: from Colombia, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Cambodia. Most of my students have been in the U.S. for less than five years.

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  • Jireh Tanabe

    Jireh Tanabe

    When I was in eighth grade, I had this very eccentric English teacher. He would whack the desks whenever he wanted people to answer — and sometimes he would only call on the kids who were reliably the ‘smart kids.’  I wasn’t considered one of the smart kids, which was fine with me, because I…

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  • Lauren Wesnak Smith

    Lauren Wesnak Smith

    I remember being in a conversation with my mom in high school — I don’t know if we were driving somewhere, or just talking in the kitchen. But I remember her telling me that I was ‘a real people person’ and that that was a gift of mine. She told me I could strike up…

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  • Lupe Ramirez

    Lupe Ramirez

    It’s hard to view my career in stories. Maybe it’s not even my story. Maybe it’s the story of my dad.  I grew up in South Chicago. My dad was a preschool teacher. And everywhere we went, it was like, ‘El maestro, el maestro!’ And so that made me a celebrity by extension: la hija…

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  • Madrid Neighborhood School

    Madrid Neighborhood School

    Seven teachers from Madrid Neighborhood School in Phoenix, Arizona share their perspectives on K-12 education.

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  • Margi Bhansali

    Margi Bhansali

    I went to school to be a journalist. My financial aid package required that I take on a work-study job. So during my first year of school, I worked with Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps program where they put college kids in Title I preschools.

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  • Maribel Rosendo-Servin

    Maribel Rosendo-Servin

    My family is from a small village in Guanajuato, Mexico. My dad had been coming to the United States since he was 15 to provide for his family. My mom was hesitant to leave her family and friends, but she knew it was the best decision for her children. When I was four years old,…

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  • My perspective as a parent — and as a teacher

    My perspective as a parent — and as a teacher

    I know as a parent that I know my kids really well. I know what their strengths are, I know what their weaknesses are, and I have the idea of what I want my kids to have as a part of my family. As a teacher, I know that teachers bring a very different perspective.

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  • On AI & human connection

    On AI & human connection

    One of the differences between learning from an AI program and learning with a teacher in a dialectical manner is that you don’t have that empathy, connection, dialogue.  All of our kids have so much potential and deserve for someone to have high expectations of them and to help them improve and grow, whatever that…

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  • On empathy for teenagers

    On empathy for teenagers

    Students have so many things that they have to do, both academically and non-academically, and I think it gets very easy for adults, whether they work in classrooms or not, to not have empathy for what students are going through developmentally, emotionally, academically.

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  • On parents communicating their joy

    On parents communicating their joy

    Parents are heard by the school administration… I would like to encourage parents to communicate their joy, not just their frustration. 

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  • Pam Gresser

    Pam Gresser

    Teaching runs in my family. The bell was my grandma’s. She was the last teacher at a one room schoolhouse in Cold Spring, Wisconsin. Because she was the last teacher, they gave that bell to her. She wrote on that card that both her mother and her aunt also taught in that school.

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  • Raymond Lie

    Raymond Lie

    I grew up in San Francisco. My dad was a lawyer. I was told in school that I was good at debating and arguing with people, and I decided that’s what I was gonna be: a lawyer. So for the first three years of college, everything I did was to become a lawyer. Between my…

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  • Supporting incarcerated students

    Supporting incarcerated students

    I’m a teacher for the Department of Education at Rikers Island. My background is 35 years in the construction trades and six years now with the DOE teaching incarcerated students.

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  • Tamika Fluker

    Tamika Fluker

    I was working at The Bridge Home at St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center. It’s a shelter for infants to 12-year-olds. If the Department of Child and Family Services pulled a kid from their home, we housed and counseled them.

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  • The power of language and the language of power

    The power of language and the language of power

    We had a discussion in class one day where we talked about code switching — where we talked about the power of language and the language of power. We talked about how the purpose for communication is to be understood, and if you’re doing that, you’re doing just fine. 

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  • The room where it happens

    The room where it happens

    When you remove your children from this arena, you are not only stopping them from hearing other points of view, but you are stopping others from hearing your child’s point of view.

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  • The school has to be a sanctuary

    The school has to be a sanctuary

    Because we don’t have art in our building, I actually have an easel and paint in the back of my classroom. The kids come in for breakfast, they see me painting.

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  • Why it’s impossible to only teach content

    Why it’s impossible to only teach content

    She told me that every single day, me making that effort to go talk to her was what kept her from harming herself. I just think about that kid. What if I hadn’t — what if I was so concerned with the content that I did not make the extra effort to make sure that…

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  • Why the social-emotional aspect of teaching is important

    Why the social-emotional aspect of teaching is important

    My connection with a student was able to save her life. I was her Business teacher. And there was a point where she was always in class, always participating. She was actually one of my best students. But during the course of the first year I had her, she started missing class.

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About this initiative:

#passthe🎤 is a Teachers in Their Power campaign in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Passing the mic is one of the best ways to support teachers and their students. Educators have a deep understanding of what’s happening in our schools, but they don’t always have the chance to be heard. By intentionally elevating the voices of teachers, we create spaces where teachers can share their experiences as professionals and as advocates for children.

Passing the mic can also help address inequities that exist in our education system. Teachers from all different backgrounds offer valuable perspectives. By amplifying their voices, we draw attention to the unique challenges of communities across the country — as well as possible solutions.

Did you know?

  • Teachers and principals have 2x the stress rates of the general working adult population. (RAND 2022)
  • Over half of American teachers plan to leave education earlier than they had planned. (NEA 2022)
  • Although 94% of teachers believe they can make a difference in this world, only 60% feel confident voicing their opinions and concerns. Only 54% feel they have a voice in decision making at school. (Quaglia survey of 30,000 teachers)

You can learn more about Teachers in Their Power by reading the About page or browsing the FAQ.

As always, you can nominate a teacher or volunteer here.