Why activism?

I want to take some time to explain where the idea behind My Voice started. I attended a training with TEA (Tennessee Education Association) last summer. While I was there I met Jessyca Mathews, an amazing teacher who shared about an activism course she conducted with high schoolers. I loved how the course allowed students to focus on problems in the world they were interested in. Each student educated themselves and created projects to display their learning. I was so inspired! Afterwards, I asked if there was something similar for elementary students & to her knowledge there wasn’t….


I thought about how to scale this down to elementary grades since that is my area of expertise. I came across the PEF Teacherpreneur Incubator and pitched an idea for a student activism program. Lucky me, my idea was one of the many great ideas picked and I was able to craft and develop my plans in the incubator. More about pitch night can be found in my very first post.

So why activism? Some people question tackling such a big topic with such young students. Others fear that by using the term “activism” I am gearing the students up to be radical extremists who will constantly challenge the norm. This is not the case, although there are definitely some norms that need to be challenged.

My whole goal is to educate the youth about big problems in our schools, cities and world. I want them to be informed members of their communities and realize that at times we must take action to make a change. This action could be getting informed, writing a letter, starting a social media account, or even signing a petition.

In our world today we see a lot of problems to address; bullying, people in need, waste & recycling, etc. I try to remind students not to just be problem spotters but also problem solvers. Students of today are the leaders of tomorrow and I hope to ignite a passion in them that they can continue to carry throughout their lives.

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