Back to Blog

The Story of One is the Story of Many

Your 2014 Year in Stories: #NCTEChat 12.21 8pmBeth Shaum currently teaches 8th grade in Michigan and is a social media coordinator for NCTE. Among her many tasks in that role is planning #NCTEChat. Next Sunday, December 21 at 8 pm the chat will focus on your stories from the past year. Below Beth shares her own. 

On the first evening of Annual Convention in Washington DC, I sat in the dimly lit ballroom enraptured in Enrique’s Journey. Here was Sonia Nazario, telling the story of one to give voice and credence to the story of many. Which got me thinking: Isn’t that what we are looking for as teachers? Don’t we want our voices to be heard so others will assure us that our own journeys have not been in vain?

My journey as a teacher came close to ending a couple years ago. Burnt out from the rigors of this profession, I was ready to throw in the towel. But rarely do things in life just happen by accident as I soon discovered when I registered for a graduate class with Dr. Cathy Fleischer at Eastern Michigan University entitled Public Policy and Public Writing. Cathy designed the course as way to help educators find their voices.

Since I was on the brink of leaving the profession, I decided that part of my final project for the class would be to find out why other teachers stay. I took to social media and asked my Twitter and Facebook PLN to participate. The result was this video.

That video led to my current position as social media coordinator for NCTE. And while I took last school year off to focus on my social media position, I am happy to say I am now back in the classroom, teaching 8th grade English at my alma mater.

My desire to return to the classroom would have never happened had I not been part of the inspiring community of teachers who are NCTE members. Being with my people, my tribe, sustains me, and for that I am ever grateful.

Ernest Morrell asked NCTE Convention first-time attendees this year how they could be the face of NCTE every day, not just at Annual Convention. So I’m offering up that challenge to you, dear reader. How can you be the voice of NCTE in your own communities? Because you never know when that lifeline just might keep a passionate teacher in the classroom.