In 2017, Celine Coggins, Harvard Graduate School of Education Lecturer and renowned teacher advocate, published How to Be Heard. This how-to guide offers every teacher ten ways to successfully amplify his or her voice, and demonstrates that when teachers’ voices are heard, they will be rightfully recognized and supported as change leaders in their schools. In ten clear chapters, she demonstrates how teachers can and must advocate for their students and their profession, proving, that “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”
Hoping to share her message directly with as many teachers as possible, Coggins presented the book’s key findings in speeches and interviews upon its publication. Then, in the fall of 2018, she hosted an extended series of personal conversations online.
Entitled The “How to Be Heard” Workshops, these eight author-led sessions gave teachers from across the country to meet Celine in person, and then to work with her one-on-one to make a difference in the ways in which they advocated for themselves, their students, and their profession.
Throughout the fall, teachers met, shared ideas, and had the chance to learn directly the nuts-and-bolts strategies recognized as the “price of admission” to becoming a credible and welcomed participant in important policy conversations and decisions. Not only did they learn more about How to Be Heard, but they had a chance to meet new peers and form new relationships with like-minded colleagues. For some, it was the first professional opportunity they had to work with teachers from across the country facing similar challenges, and the first chance to learn new ways to succeed in their profession.
As part of this series, participants joined a professional learning community in which they develop their practice and share resources between gatherings. Each session was broadcast live, and archives were shared immediately so that as—as word spread—new teachers could catch up and join this professional network as soon as they learned of it. Those so motivated were even able to document their efforts in ways that resulted in professional development credit from their schools.