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Change Begins in the Classroom

Katie Dredger"When I began teaching, I penned into my gradebook the list of the 180 students in my six English classes. I created and interpreted my own assessments. While I was supposed to follow the prescribed curriculum that began with a grammar unit, I wanted to make my own decisions. So, I quietly closed the door of my classroom and ultimately enjoyed the adventure that was my first year. I felt power in my choice to exercise some academic freedom, but I felt powerless in my ability to affect curricular change."

"What’s the big difference, fifteen years later?"

"Then, I practiced subversive teaching, doing what I felt best in my classroom for my students—despite the mandates. Now, I verbalize and defend my choices. I use my reputation and experience as allies, working as an activist to affect policy, other practitioners, and ultimately, many more children than I ever could have imagined."

--Katie Dredger, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
15 years teaching

Related NCTE Resources . .

take action buttonGrassroots Advocacy NetworkKatie's story is a terrific example of how one teacher can influence policy and advocate for an issue in his or her own school.  Take those ideas one step further and begin influencing policymakers and advocating for education issues you believe in—take  part in NCTE's grassroots advocacy network.  

No Child Left Behind Recommendations. This statement was approved by the NCTE Executive Committee in November 2006.

Resolution on the Critical Role of Teachers in the Selection and Implementation of Reading Programs and Policies. This resolution was passed at the 2006 Annual Business Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts