In Their Own Words originated from the desire to better understand teachers’ ideas, to hear them describe their experiences in their own voices, unfiltered. We wanted to find out: What are the pressing issues for teachers? What are teachers sharing with one another? What are they commenting on publicly—outside of research questions, focus groups, and private conversations?
So we closely analyzed what teachers were saying online from January to May 2014. We looked at over 2,400 blogs, 12,600 tweets, and 16,900 Edchats to get a sense of teachers’ views of their work. What we found are patterns across their comments. We are calling these patterns teacher narratives. Teacher narratives are teachers’ words taken directly from social media. They are a collection of statements teachers actually wrote themselves.
This booklet is designed to share these teacher narratives with you. We have a saying at the Gates Foundation: Nobody knows teaching like teachers. Anyone who wants to have an impact on education should understand teacher narratives because they are reflections of how teachers view everything—their classrooms, their profession, and the whole education system.