Guest Post: Yuri Lewis

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Congrats! You survived the first few weeks of school!

If you’re like me, you prepared for weeks with many restless nights wondering if everything was perfect and ready for your new group of scholars. Doesn’t it feel great to start a new year with a clean slate of kiddos and minimal desk clutter? Now, you can execute all the new ideas and strategies you learned from your summer PDs, roll out those new lessons you read about, and finally carry out your plans to eat healthy and workout!...or at least that’s the plan! Much like New Years Resolutions, we all start the school year off with lofty goals and a plethora of new duties. If you haven’t by now, you will soon feel overwhelmed with the demands of our calling as a teacher. Many times, because we love what we do, we allow ourselves to take on too much, overcommit, or get carried away with responsibilities, only to get burnt out by October.

To keep this from happening, don’t forget to keep YOURSELF healthy. Refrain from allowing yourself to feel like you’re drowning in lesson plans, grading, and curriculum building. In order for us to be the “superhero teacher” our kiddos, parents, and colleagues need, we HAVE to take care of ourselves. As educators, we have bought into the lie that this makes us “selfish,” when in reality, taking care of you is the only way we will have the stamina to care for your students all year long.

You’ll inevitably have worries for your kiddos that you’ll take home with you, but don’t let these overtake you where your own personal needs become completely neglected. Schedule a mani-pedi, go on a dinner date, or make time to catch up with colleagues or old friends. It’s crucial for us to realize the most important tool for a student’s education is a healthy and happy teacher. This means when you finally have some down time, even during a school day, allow yourself to a moment to breathe. Take a stroll down the hall and check up on the first-year teacher, send a little wave and wink to the veteran. Don’t feel guilty to have lunch with your team and NOT talk about school. Build one another up and get to know one another on a personal level.

Our kiddos will get taken care of. There are many like-minded adults on your campus with the same goal of loving and caring for students... but the question is, who is going to take care of YOU? This year, keep in mind the best way to help our scholars is to practice self-care.

I wish you all a healthy year, filled with laughter, the joy of seeing your students’ “aha moments” and those “can you believe that just happened?” stories that make it all worth it!

 

Yuri Lewis - 8th Grade ELAR Teacher, TJ Rusk Middle School

Game Night / Event Recap

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TEC hosted its first Summer Social of 2018 at The Grove at Harwood in Uptown on Friday, June 22nd. Around 40 educators from 15 different schools braved the summer heat and came together for an evening of outdoor games and a well deserved evening of relaxation. TJ Rusk Middle School, Thomas Jefferson High School and Uplift Triumph were among the schools represented as coworkers and friends were able to catch up after their first few weeks of summer break. It was also exciting to see the TEC community continue to grow as our first educators from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD and Frisco ISD joined us at The Grove.

TEC’s social events serve as a great space to make connections with fellow teachers from across the metroplex and continue to grow your professional network. Whether you’re searching for a new job, wanting to discuss best practices, or simply looking for a place to unwind with friends and fellow teachers, we have you covered. We always want TEC to be a community that that you can depend on for resources and relationships as you grow in your careers as professional educators.

To that end, don’t forget to join us for our next Summer Social at Deep Ellum Brewing Co. on July 26th. We’ll have guided tours of the brewery, local craft beers on tap, and a happy hour in the taproom to close out the evening. You won’t want to miss it!

Dallas Summer Events Calendar - July 2018

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If you’re looking to make the most of your summer break and you find yourself in DFW, TEC has you covered.  Check out our Summer Event Calendar for fun, budget-friendly ways to take full advantage of your time off!

 

JULY 1

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CHRIS BROWN CONCERT

Location: Dos Equis Pavilion
Cost: 25+

 

JUNE 3

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ADDISON KABOOMTOWN

Location: Addison Circle
Cost: Free

 

JULY 4

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FAIR PARK FOURTH

Location: Fair Park
Cost: $0-10

 

JULY 5

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CONCERTS BY THE LAKE - "SOUTHERN RIDE"

Location: Harbor Ampitheater
Cost: Free

 

JULY 6

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SUNDOWN AT SEVEN

Location: Adolphus Hotel
Cost: Free

 

JULY 7

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FESTIVAL DE MARIACHI

Location: Traders Village
Cost: Free

 

JULY 11

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FREE SUMMER MOVIE SERIES: STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI

Location: Fair Park
Cost: Free

 

JULY 12

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OWL PROWL NIGHT HIKES

Location: Trinity River Audubon Center
Cost: $15

 

JULY 13

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ADDISON SUMMER SERIES: JIMMY BUFFET TRIBUTE

Location: Addison Circle Park
Cost: Free

 

JULY 14

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BASTILLE ON BISHOP

Location: Bishop Arts District
Cost: $25

 

JULY 15

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FIFA WORLD CUP WATCH PARTY

Location: Bomb Factory
Cost: Free

 

JULY 16

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THE SMASHING PUMPKINS IN CONCERT

Location: American Airlines Center
Cost: $34+

 

JULY 20

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NOTHIN BUT CHEDDAR CHEESE FESTIVAL

Location: Scardello Artisan Cheese (Oak Lawn)
Cost: $40

 

JULY 21

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MOON DAY 2018

Location: Frontiers Flight Museum
Cost: $7

 

JULY 22

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SHAWN MENDES CONCERT

Location: American Airlines Center
Cost: $29+

 

JULY 23

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TEXAS RANGERS VS OAKLAND A'S - DOLLAR DOG NIGHT

Location: Globe Life Park
Cost: $20+

 

JULY 26

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AFTER-HOURS COCKTAIL TOUR

Location: Samurai Collection
Cost: $18

 

JULY 27

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DAVE BARNES CONCERT

Location: Kessler Theatre
Cost: $22+

 

JULY 28

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TEXAS LATINO COMIC CON

Location: Latino Culture Center
Cost: Free

 

Advisory Board Announcement

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The Educator Collective Advisory Board is a council of educators that serves an integral leadership role within TEC. Members of the advisory board work with TEC staff to build programming, lead initiatives, and serve as the face of the organization on school campuses. The work of the advisory board in indispensable as the TEC community continues to grow and strengthen.

To that end, we are thrilled to add three capable and passionate teacher-leaders to the advisory board this summer.  

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Reanna Wilborn
Thomas C. Marsh Preparatory Academy

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Paige Zumberge
Thomas Jefferson High School

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Jordan Murphy
Thomas C. Marsh Preparatory Academy

We started the advisory board at the beginning of 2018, and, with the addition of Reanna, Jordan, and Paige now have seven committed board members (check out the “Our Team” page for a full list of board members). Our vision is to add 3-4 more educators to the advisory board in the upcoming school year. If you are interested in this unique leadership opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Dallas Summer Events Calendar - June 2018

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If you’re looking to make the most of your summer break and you find yourself in DFW, TEC has you covered.  Check out our Summer Event Calendar for fun, budget-friendly ways to take full advantage of your time off!

 

JUNE 1

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SECOND ANNUAL SKIP DAY

Location: The Rustic
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 2

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THE POLYPHONIC SPREE

Location: Legacy Hall
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 3

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MIMOSA WALK

Location: Bishop Arts District
Cost: $20

 

JUNE 5

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MARIO KART TOURNAMENT

Location: Legacy Hall
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 6

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DOLLAR HOT DOG NIGHT - TEXAS RANGERS VS OAKLAND A'S

Location: Globe Life Park
Cost: Starting at $17

 

JUNE 7

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MOVIE NIGHT - LADY & THE TRAMP

Location: Mutt's Canine Cantina
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 8

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CONCERT - RAY LAMONTAGNE & NEKO CASE

Location: Toyota Music Factory
Cost: Starting at $30

 

JUNE 9

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FOR OAK CLIFF'S "DAY AT THE MOVIES"

Location: Texas Theatre
Cost: $25

 

JUNE 11

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TRIVIA NIGHT

Location: The Lot
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 12

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DALLAS SYMPHONY PARKS CONCERTS SERIES

Location: Paul Quinn College
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 14

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VIRTRUVIAN NIGHTS LIVE WITH EMERALD CITY BAND

Location: Virtruvian Park
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 15

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'TIL MIDNIGHT AT THE NASHER

Location: Nasher Sculpture Gardens
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 16

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FT WORTH MARGARITA FESTIVAL

Location: The Yard
Cost: $25

 

JUNE 16 & 17

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FATHER'S DAY BEER SAMPLING AND BRATS

Location: Dallas Arboretum
Cost: $15

 

JUNE 19

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JUNETEENTH FESTIVAL

Location: MLK Community Center
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 20

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THE LION KING

Location: Fair Park Music Hall
Cost: Starting at $38

 

JUNE 21

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DECKS IN THE PARK

Location: Klyde Warren Park
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 22

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2018 NHL DRAFT AND FAN FEST

Location: American Airlines Center
Cost: TBA

 

JUNE 24

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CRAWFISH FEST

Location: Bishop Arts District
Cost: TBA

 

JUNE 26

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CONCERT - PENTATONIX

Location: Starplex Pavilion
Cost: Starting at $25

 

JUNE 27

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"PULP FICTION" MOVIE

Location: Rooftop at the Granada Theatre
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 30

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OUTLAW MUSIC FESTIVAL (WILLIE NELSON, STURGILL SIMPSON, RYAN BINGHAM)

Location: Dos Equis Pavilion
Cost: Starting at $35

Five Great Ideas for Traveling Teachers!

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We are down to those final school days. 19 to be exact, not that we’re counting or anything. The last few before those glorious words “summer break” are a reality and days that aren’t chock full of instructing, grading, lesson planning, pencil sharpening, test writing, hall monitoring, lunch duty-ing (and so on) are the norm, for a couple of months at least. As an educator, vacations can seem daunting because it’s just one more thing to plan, one more thing that costs precious dollars, one more thing that must, of course, come to an end. But, also as an educator, vacations, self-care, a chance to unplug are so deserved and needed. So let’s find a way to make this more attainable and realistic, shall we?

Not all vacations mean traveling to the ends of the earth, spending oodles of dollars, or getting stressed over planning the details. Below are five travel ideas that I would consider doable, plannable, and bookable for an educator yet also exciting, somewhat exotic and definitely worth showcasing on social media (if it isn’t on Instagram, did it even happen?).
 

1) Marfa, Texas

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El Cosmico, Marfa

Not only is Marfa one of the most Instagrammable places ever, it exists in our very own great state and is totally drivable! No, I-20 isn’t the most scenic going through the western part of Texas, but once you arrive in the charming village of Marfa, all thoughts of tumbleweeds and oil rigs will be a distant memory. Art, shopping, delicious meals and easy access to Big Bend National Park set this little desert town apart as an oasis worth visiting. If New Yorkers are coming down to experience it, you know it has to be something, right? Not to mention the variety boutique hotels - Hotel Saint George, Hotel Paisano, Thunderbird Hotel, or if you really save those pennies, El Cosmico - to name a few. And, of course, who wouldn’t want to catch those eerie Marfa Lights?!
 

2) San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sunshine, beach, colonial town and no need for a passport? Sign me up! Puerto Rico, despite the tragedy from Hurricane Maria, has recovered so nicely and is anxious for visitors, allowing for a very affordable beach vacay. Old San Juan, the oldest settlement on the island, is home to a ton of history, fabulous restaurants and super quaint lodging. All of this coupled with some really great beaches (Isla Verde, Dorado, Rio Grande) make for a wonderful getaway that doesn’t take hours or lots of $$$ to get to from Dallas. Some of my favorites for boutique lodging include El Convento (think old world charm meets contemporary elegance), Olive Boutique Hotel (definitely ideal for a romantic stay!), La Terraza de San Juan (happy hour on that rooftop terrace is a must), and The Gallery Inn (the ultimate bed & breakfast experience). There’s also quite the bar and casino scene, if that piques your interest!
 

3) Pacific Northwest

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The Burrard Hotel, Vancouver

Summer time in Oregon, Washington and western Canada is tough to beat, especially when we are constantly waging war against the heat here in Texas. Cooler temps, gorgeous scenery, hiking, wine tasting, whale watching and just a general sense of the outdoors? How could anything be better?! With direct flights on a variety of airlines to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, the PNW proves to be a perfect escape from the triple digits and insane A/C bills. Pick one and do a long weekend, or pick all three and turn it into a road trip marked by national park after national park, one insanely good cup of coffee after another, and a stamp on that passport upon entering Canada. Airbnbs and super cool boutique hotels (i.e. The Society Hotel in Portland, Hotel Five in Seattle, The Burrard in Vancouver) are not hard to come by in any of these spots, and neither is delicious food (Portland - Pine State Biscuits and Pok Pok, Seattle - Spinasse and Matt’s in the Market, Vancouver - Uva and Rodney’s Oyster House) and a variety of activities. Breakfast in PDX, morning photo op at Cannon Beach, an afternoon hike in Rainier National Park, and an evening spent at Pike Place Market equals the perfect PNW day in my book!
 

4) Contiki Tours

The mission statement of Contiki is to plan travel for the “young, wild and free” (AKA those who are between 18 and 35 years old) to places all over the world and within a moderate budget. The idea here is to bring people from a variety of backgrounds and homes together and introduce them to new places, new cultures, new ideas. Their philosophy is to change perspectives and open eyes to see what is out there and to do it with some new friends - and I LOVE this philosophy! They plan the nitty gritty of over 300 trips to six different continents all throughout the year, yet you get to make many of the decisions (transportation, activities, lodging, how you spend your time, etc.). Being able to filter trips by destination, length, cost, etc., there is something out there for everyone. The world is truly your oyster with Contiki!    
 

5) U by Uniworld

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U by Uniworld

When you first hear the words “river cruise”, your mind probably automatically says “no thanks, that’s for people my parents’ age”. And that isn’t completely inaccurate. However, Uniworld, one of the leading river cruise companies, decided it was time to tap into the millennial generation and get us cruising in a way that still kept us feeling young and adventurous. Enter: U by Uniworld. Originally designed as river cruises for 21 to 45 year olds, U by Uniworld is the perfect way to experience some of the greatest gems of Europe with an all-inclusive part hotel/part yacht homebase. They max out at 120 guests per cruise, which offers a unique and intimate experience. Not to mention, these boats can squeeze into the tight river spaces that larger ships cannot, equating to a truly all encompassing experience. Money wise, this isn’t as budget-conscious as Contiki, but you are getting an all-inclusive five-star experience for a fraction of what it typically costs. Bon voyage, my friends!

If you found yourself saying “YES SIGN ME UP NOW” to any of these or want to know what else is out there (just the whole of our planet, really), shoot me a line (contact info below)! 

 
 
 
 
 Hillary Taylor

Our guest blogger, Hillary Taylor, is a luxury travel designer and advisor based in Dallas. She is part of The Simple Sol team (www.thesimplesol.com) in Dallas, an affiliate of SmartFlyer (www.smartflyer.com, a leading agency of independent advisors) and a member of Virtuoso (www.virtuoso.com). She designs highly curated and personalized luxury travel experiences for clients of all kinds to places all over the world. Most recently she has traveled to Portugal and Morocco, and next up on the schedule is Northern California. Interested in learning more? Contact her at hillary@thesimplesol.com and follow along on Instagram (@the_foreignanddomestic).

 

Welcome Tessa Alexander to the TEC Staff!

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We at The Educator Collective are thrilled to announce the addition of the newest member of our staff! Tessa Alexander has been hired as TEC’s Director of Operations, effective April 1, 2018. Tessa brings a depth of experience in Dallas ISD schools to the table, having spent the past 5 years as the community liaison at Edward H. Cary Middle School. In addition to her on-the-ground work experience, Tessa is also equipped with the kind of passion, skill, and character that we believe will help make TEC a better resource for the educators it serves. On top of that she has a wonderful family - she is married to Kevin and in September they welcomed their baby girl, Lyla, into the world! We are honored and humbled to have Tessa on board!

At this point, however, we would be deeply remiss if we did not thank Kate Benson, our outgoing Director of Operations, for her leadership and hard work over the past year. Kate was our first ever hire, and any success TEC has experienced in this first year of existence is largely thanks to her effort and commitment. We will miss Kate dearly, but we’re also eager to see her thrive in the next phase of her journey as she heads off to grad school. Thank you, Kate, and best of luck!

Moving forward, Tessa will be the primary point of contact for all TEC members. Please do not hesitate to reach out to her directly (tessa@educatorcollective.org) with any questions, requests, suggestions, etc.  Our lines of communication are ALWAYS open. My hope is that you all will get to know Tessa in the months ahead so that she, and the rest of TEC, will know how we can serve you better. As an unofficial introduction, please read on for a letter from Tessa as she looks forward to beginning her time with TEC.

I could not be more excited to be working for the Educator Collective! This organization holds a special place in my heart as I had the privilege of partnering with Robert and Austin during their initial work in the founding stages of TEC. As a community liaison at Cary Middle School at the time, I felt so encouraged to have an organization that existed specifically to rally around and support our teachers.  

I have always frankly been intimidated by the classroom. I have been an ESL “teacher" twice a week to parents, a cooking club “teacher” in the after school program and a summer school Spanish “teacher” at a private school for 6 weeks. To put “teacher” on my resume though, would be unfair. I have not put in the extra hours that you have dedicated to lesson planning, copy making, attending your students’ band concerts and football games, staying late to tutor or making sure a student got home safely.  You are on the front lines doing the most important and most thankless job that exists. You deserve limitless zeros added to your paycheck, yet you do this work for next to nothing because you believe in the students that fill your desks each day.

I am thrilled to devote myself to finding ways for you to feel supported, rallied around, educated, and inspired. I have seen the hard work you put in firsthand and am excited to connect you to resources that will help you thrive, in turn equipping the next generation!

-Tessa

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Speaker Series with Taylor Toynes / Recap

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Taylor Toynes was born and raised in the 75216 “super block” in South Oak Cliff.  It’s his home, his neighborhood, and the community he has been called to serve. As a Victims Advocate in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, as a 4th grade teacher at W.W. Bushman Elementary School, and now as the founder and executive director of For Oak Cliff, Taylor has made an all-in commitment to empowering the people and places that make up the super block.

From GED classes, to civic engagement workshops, to a back to school festival in the summer, For Oak Cliff offers a holistic approach to community empowerment.  And while its scope is broad, For Oak Cliff’s impact is laser-focused. Taylor, and the men, women and children who work with him, have made the powerfully simple decision to take ownership of the community they call home.  The 75216 super block is that home and they are answering the call - a call common to all of us - to ensure its flourishing.

As TEC endeavors to explore the ways teachers can become advocates for their schools, students, and communities, there is perhaps no better example from which to learn than For Oak Cliff and Taylor Toynes.  We count ourselves lucky to have had Taylor join us as the lead presenter at our Spring Speaker Series event on Friday, February 23rd. After hearing from Mike Koprowski (founder and executive director, Opportunity Dallas) in October, we wrapped up the 2017-2018 Speaker Series cycle with a compelling message from one of our city’s bright, young servant-leaders.

We at TEC are inspired by the noble work Taylor is doing in south Dallas, and we are beyond grateful for the wisdom he was willing to share with our members, staff, and supporters at the Spring Speaker Series.  We are eager to see how our members apply his advice and encouragement as they work to become advocates for the communities and schools in which they live and work. If you are a TEC member and would like to find out more about opportunities for advocacy, please contact us.

Future Teachers Summit

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On Saturday, January 13th, TEC had the privilege of hosting two seminars at the TeachDFW Future Teachers Summit at the University of North Texas – Dallas.  The Summit provided prospective educators from across the metroplex with the opportunity to gather valuable information, resources, and relationships as they prepare to enter the profession.  TEC was honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with many other stellar organizations at this half-day event, as we introduced ourselves to an inspiring group of future educators.

Our host at the Future Teacher Summit, TeachDFW, is an organization committed to empowering leaders across Dallas-Fort Worth to enter the teaching field with confidence and complete preparation.  Beyond providing answers to key questions (e.g. how much does a teacher make?  where should I teach?), TeachDFW also connects future educators with stellar teacher prep programs, many of whom - Urban Teachers, Teach For America, and Dallas Teacher Residency, etc. - TEC is honored to count as valuable organizational partners.

At the Summit, TEC hosted two 45 minutes seminars.  Participants who attended the TEC seminars learned that “It Pays to Teach,” as our longtime friend and financial coach Robert Hunt discussed the in’s and out’s of teacher salaries and retirement savings plans.  From monthly budgeting to selecting the lowest cost retirement plan, Robert equipped his audiences with powerful resources that will help them make the most out of the compensation and benefits currently offered to entry-level teachers.

TEC always wants to be at the vanguard of individuals and organizations who are serious about educators becoming the best they can be.  We want to be a part of a collective effort to fully equip, encourage, and empower those who have been called to this noblest of professions.  To that end we are grateful that TeachDFW, who shares in this conviction, would allow us to be a part of such a meaningful and well-executed event.  More than anything we are grateful for the chance to get to know the men and women who attended The Summit as they prepare to embark on their careers as teachers.  Best of luck to each of you!

Advisory Board Announcement

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At TEC we want our members to play an integral role in leading the organization into the future.  We have a vision for a vibrant professional community this fiercely relevant and valuable to the teachers it serves, and we are convinced that this vision can only become a reality if that community is led by the teachers themselves.  

To that end we are excited to announce the formation of The Educator Collective Advisory Board, a council of educators that will serve as TEC’s core column of leadership. These educators will be an indispensable resource as we plan future programming and recruit members.  

We have started the Advisory Board with five committed TEC members, all noted below. However, our vision is to add more educators in the months and years ahead. If you are interested in this unique leadership opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Join us in congratulating this year's appointees.

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Taylor Henry
Woodrow Wilson High School

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Joi Bowers
Billy Earl Dade Middle School

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Shafarion Romashyn
Dan D. Rogers Elementary School

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Erika Shisler
Thomas C. Marsh Preparatory Academy

TEC Workshops: Professional Development With Kindra Knight

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While we openly admit that The Educator Collective team isn’t equipped to provide professional development, we also aim to provide any support we can for our teachers. Our ultimate mission being to keep the most excellent teachers in the highest need classrooms, we want to make sure early career educators feel supported in every way we can. We already provide networking opportunities (social events for teachers and other professionals to share stories and knowledge and to relax and rejuvenate), personal development workshops, and connections to leadership opportunities.

As we move into a new year and a new semester with our educators, we’re branching out (and reaching out) into a new realm. We partnered with Teach For America Alumna Kindra Knight to facilitate some incredible professional development centered around pedagogy and practice in the classroom. Formerly a TFA Coach and Professional Learning Leader, Kindra is now a coach and adjunct professor with Urban Teachers and John’s Hopkins University. While her own teaching experience was in high school Biology, she’s coached teachers across all grade levels and subjects, and planned a session that can be applied anywhere--Beyond the Worksheet.

Thanks to everyone to came out--we hope you’ve already started using some of the great ways Kindra shared to practice new material and review old material with students. If you weren’t able to make it, I’ve shared below three of the practice methods we saw attendees getting most excited about:

1. Speed Dating, in which students are seated on opposite sides of desks in one long row. At the start of practice, each student in the row receives a different problem and then has X amount of minutes to become a expert on the type of problem or at the skill. After time is up, students switch problems with the student directly across from them, and begin attempting a new problem. If they get stuck, they have the expert in that problem sitting right across from them! Once students complete their new problem, all of the students on ONE side of the table stand and move one seat to the right, and switch with their new ”date”. This cycle continues until every student has tried every problem!

2. Expert Practice. Ever get new students added your class suddenly and not know for sure what they’ve mastered? This is a great opportunity to engage your old students while being sure your new students are all caught up. Divide your rosters ahead of time based on concept mastery, and determine which students will play the role of ‘teacher’ and which will be ‘students’ (you want to have an even number of each if possible). Build practice with chunks of notes and practice questions included for the teachers to use to “teach” their student and then go through practice with their student. After each “chunk” of material, do a quick practice game, like whiteboard, but only allow the “student” in each partner pair to answer. The better the “teacher” does as teaching, the more points they’ll get!

3. Would You Rather? Students get to form an opinion based on information they already know or have recently learned.

If there’s some aspect of instruction or planning you’d like some focused PD on from The Educator Collective, let us know by emailing kate@educatorcollective.org and she’ll find a facilitator with the expertise!

If you would like to reach out to Kindra Knight about doing PD at your campus or about working together one-on-one, you can email her at knight.kindra@gmail.com.

2017 Review/2018 Preview

2017 Review/2018 Preview

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As we close the book on 2017 and look forward to the opportunities of a new year, I want to offer my sincerest thanks to the members, donors, and partners of The Educator Collective. 2017 was TEC’s inaugural year, and it was a fruitful one thanks to the unique contributions made by each one of you. From the commitment of our members, to the generosity of our donors and the support of our partners, you have all made us better and helped put us on a path to success. We are building something special at TEC – a vibrant community of talented teaching professionals – and I am eager to stand next to you as the work continues in a new year.


As successful as 2017 was for
TEC and its members,
2018 promises to be even better.


Looking back, I could not be happier with the foundation we were able to lay in 2017. After a summer recruiting effort across 7 DISD campuses, we began the school year with a little over 75 members. From August to December we were able grow that membership base by over 75%, ending the year with 132 members across 13 campuses. Throughout the year we offered several opportunities for our members to expand their networks and grow in their careers.

  • We hosted two TEC Socials in 2017. In early-September we kicked off the school year at Sandbar Cantina and Grill, where our members were able to meet one another over drinks and sand volleyball. We wrapped up the year with our Ugly Christmas Sweater Brunch at The Eberhard, our most well-attended event of the year. Here members were able to tie a bow on the fall semester over mimosas and a full brunch buffet.
  • We were honored to partner with some outstanding organizational partners for our TEC Workshops & Speaker Series in 2017.
  • In October, our members gathered at Common Desk Deep Ellum for a cocktail hour and presentation from Mike Koprowski, former DISD Chief of Transformation and Innovation and current Executive Director of Opportunity Dallas.
  • November saw 15 lucky TEC members go through a half-day “Identity Mapping” session at Tyler Station with local executive coach and personal development expert, Rocky Garza.
  • Personal finance was the topic of conversation at our December workshop, where Robert Hunt from Robert Hunt Financial, LLC answered the question “how should an educator begin their financial journey?”
  • TEC Community Leadership opportunities abounded in 2017 as we worked to connect our members with an array of local nonprofits and education-focused organizations. One member even leveraged the TEC network to join the board of directors of a regional nonprofit specializing in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. More on this in a later blog post!

As successful as 2017 was for TEC and its members, 2018 promises to be even better. Thanks to the tireless work of Kate Benson, director of operations, and our entire board of directors, we have a full plate of engaging programing planned for the year ahead.

We will be featuring and working with a handful of new partners in 2018, including Kindra Knight (Teacher Coach and Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University), Taylor Toynes (Executive Director, For Oak Cliff), and Leadership ISD. And, always, we are thrilled to offer plenty of opportunities to unwind and build relationships at our 2018 socials (be on the lookout for our Bowl & Barrel Happy Hour in March!).

Thank you all again for such a fulfilling 2017. Thanks to you the sky's the limit as we head into 2018, look to grow the TEC community, and continue working towards our goal of building lasting and accomplished careers in public education.
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Robert Taylor
TEC, Founder & Executive Director

 

On Teaching and The Educator Collective

 Harold Hogue, Author

Harold Hogue, Author

In 23 years, my mother raised 2,300 students plus my sisters and me. For more than two decades, she has woken up at 4:45 am to make sure breakfast was cooked, clothes were ironed, and our homework was ready to turn in before she drove off to one of the most underserved areas in my hometown, Indianapolis, to teach her English class. She still thrives off the phone calls that come years later that say, "Thank You, Ms. Hogue" and the social media posts that say, "Without you, I couldn't have done it." She has lived a life empowering others, but as a former educator, I've always asked myself, "Whose job is it to empower the teacher?"


"Whose job is it to empower the teacher?"


There's no questioning the work that teachers do day in and day out takes an incredible amount of skill and surgical precision. In my experience, most people that encounter a teacher ask something of them. The babies need their love, attention, and knowledge; the administration needs them always to be improving; the parents want to know how their child is doing, and the list continues. When I was teaching, I felt months go by before anyone outside of my family would ask, "What can I do for you?" 


"TEC exists to uplift, connect, and empower our world’s most valuable servant leaders."


The Educator Collective is a group that asks that question. TEC exists to uplift, connect, and empower our world’s most valuable servant leaders. It is a community built around the notion that teachers deserve a space and a network that allows them to grow and plug into areas outside of the school building. Every conversation at TEC centers around one key question - "what do teachers need to grow personally and professionally, and how can we give it to them?”  To help answer that question, TEC's board of directors is made up of teachers and school leaders that lend a voice to guide the organization in defining how they should approach supporting a diverse cohort of educators.  

 

True innovation is rare. The Educator Collective is indeed starting something special by choosing to focus on empowering teachers like my mom who give so much of themselves to this work and to their students. 

 

Harold Hogue
Regional Manager, Enriched Schools
Former DISD Science Teacher

The Humble Classroom

 Author: Sterling Hill

Author: Sterling Hill

In the midst of stark division in this country, we will begin another school year in August with the most malleable of all citizens sitting right in front of us. I shift between great excitement about education’s potential- innovative school design, personalized learning; and fear and anger- college readiness rates in the 30s, low student engagement.

Being an educator is a precariously humbling position to be in. Our careers rest in the hands of undeveloped brains and overstimulated hormones. Nevertheless, I am convinced that all students are created with immense value and that education gives these children opportunities to reach their potential.

I begin the school year with a basic question- How can we best serve our students THIS school year?

More than anything, our classrooms need a dose of humility. The lack of humility in our classrooms and in our education system as a whole is pervasive. We see this in stagnant teaching methods, in student’s lack of respect for authority, and in authoritarian decision making in the classroom. Andy Smarick of the American Enterprise Institute “Dignity Project,” asks our question like this- How do we approach public education so a “deep respect for human dignity is our default setting?” In other words, how can we build a culture of respect and humility in our classrooms?

Humility is about respecting others because they might be right and you might be wrong. Teach For America defines this idea as “asset-based thinking.” Let us look at a student’s assets before we ever consider their deficits. Assume they are kind. Assume they desire to learn. Assume their intentions are positive. The most powerful moments I have had as a teacher have come when, in front of the class, I have admitted I am wrong.  Teacher vulnerability breeds student vulnerability which breeds trust which breeds engagement.

Social media, parents, and past experiences all alter how students think and how students respond to teaching. This year, consider that what has worked in the past may not work with students in 2017. It will take humility and self-reflection to consider the individual needs of our students. A recent study completed by the Fordham Institute and Crux Research stated that students are likely to fit into one of six categories- hand raisers, social butterflies, deep thinkers, subject lovers, emotionals, and teacher responders. Over 90% of students surveyed stated that they desired to learn and to be engaged in the classroom. I implore you to consider your students when planning this year. Ask students how you could be a better teacher. Ask more questions in the classroom. This indicates to your students that you don’t have all the answers and that you trust them to take responsibility for their learning.

How we educate our children is foundational to their understanding of the world and their place in it.  Education drives culture. So cheers to 2017-2018! It’s a new year-- ripe for a humble start.

Sterling Hill
Teacher | Department Chair
Highland Park High School 

Interview With Luis Juarez

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What motivated you to become a teacher?

I have first-hand experience of the effect that an inspiring teacher can have in the life of a student. Specific teachers kept me from falling through the cracks of the educational system – immigrant, low socioeconomic status, male and Latino are unfortunately factors that, according to experts in the field, stacked the odds against me. It is thanks to those teachers that worked with me that I am the person I am today; their drive to reach me beyond the classroom inspired me to work hard and beat those odds. These experiences motivated me to do the same for students as an educator.

What has been the highlight of your teaching career so far?

My life experiences have helped me forge meaningful connections with students and their families. One key aspect for every successful classroom is being able to reach your students at multiple levels – from home visits to mediating conflicts between classmates, I have managed to reach a healthy balance that makes my classroom a safe learning space. In July 2015, I was one of nine DACAmented educators to be honored at the White House as a Champion of Change for my work in the field – this distinction has truly been the highlight of my teaching career. 


TEC recognizes the value in my work as a professional in education – this has been a determining factor in my commitment to the field.

How has TEC improved your experience as an early-career educator?

It is easy to feel like your work goes unnoticed in this field, however, that has hardly been the case for me. TEC has given me an opportunity to help me grow professionally through specific workshops and personally by facilitating a space to strengthen ties with my colleagues. TEC recognizes the value in my work as a professional in education – this has been a determining factor in my commitment to the field.

What would you say to a teacher thinking about joining TEC?

Support in the early stages of a teaching career fundamental for long-term success. TEC is a support system that adds strength to your development as an educator and continuously values your efforts in and out of the classroom. In order to better serve your students, you need to take care of yourself – TEC will equip you with skills needed to be in optimum condition for the classroom and for life.


 

Early-Career Teachers need a space for community, encouragement and professional growth. Join TEC Today!