Montevallo, Ala. – “We have to have people that want to share their classroom with the rest of the world,” Jennifer Brown, Alabama Teacher of the Year stated as she discussed educational advocacy during a recent visit to the University of Montevallo.
Brown, M.Ed. ’13, is currently spending one year representing the teachers of the state of Alabama through traveling speaking engagements and giving teachers a voice in the Capitol during the current legislative session.
During her visit to UM, Brown emphasized the importance of inviting visitors, specifically government officials and legislators, into schools and classrooms to better illustrate both the work teachers are doing and the difference they are making.
“The more people we can bring into the learning process, the better. Allowing people into those spaces shows what education is,” Brown stated. “It shows exactly what teachers have to work with to get the job done.”
A graduate-level class at UM inspired Brown to create a teacher-training program with fellow colleagues at Vestavia Hills High School, where she teaches science. The Leading by Learning program began with a handful of teachers and now involves over half of the faculty at VHHS. The program allows teachers to visit other teachers in their classroom to observe different strategies, classroom management and assess evidence of student learning.
Brown’s hope is for teachers all over the state to create cultures of collaboration that inspire, encourage and push fellow educators to excellence.
“Being a teacher is all about being champions for students, but we also need to be champions for each other. We need to share our love of learning with students, but we also need to take risks and embrace challenges ourselves,” Brown explained to the group of fellow educators, UM alumni and students currently earning education degrees at UM.
Brown believes it is the teacher’s duty to show what is happening in the classroom, and also stressed the importance of teachers sending positive messages of their profession.
“We’re not perfect. No teacher has a perfect classroom, and instead of worrying about checking boxes we should be more concerned about growth,” Brown stated. “People will listen if we send the right messages, invite people into our classrooms and show what we teach and what real learning looks like.”
Those interested can learn more about Jennifer Brown, 2015-16 Alabama Teacher of the Year, by visiting her Facebook page and follow her at @jbrownaps on Twitter.
For more information on the University of Montevallo’s College of Education please visit the College of Education webpage.
About The University of Montevallo
The University of Montevallo seeks to be unique in higher education in Alabama, by providing students from throughout the state an affordable, geographically accessible, “small college” public higher educational experience of high quality. Settled within an atmosphere of national historic beauty and offering a tradition of innovative cultural expression, we seek to provide professional programs supported by a broad base of arts and sciences that are designed for intellectual and personal growth in the pursuit of meaningful employment and responsible, informed citizenship.