Thanks For Coming To My TED Talk (For The Culture)

I’m so proud to share my most recent TED talk about teacher voice with the world for various reasons:

  • I talked about my family (shouts to Luz and Alejandro!)
  • I talked about my own classroom and students (shouts to last year’s 801-803 in the video)
  • I shouted out #EduColor (We really outchea!)
  • I concretized the definition of teacher voice (Please share it widely)
  • I shared screen shots of my teacher evaluations with the world (“No weapon formed against me shall prosper,”)
  • I did this in front of NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza!

Imagine my shock when I found out that Carranza and I would appear as bookends to this event at TED HQ on the day of. I had prepared this talk for a month, mulling over every word, every slide, every GIF, and every salient point that I wanted to fit into this 10-minute talk. I had already given a TED talk that still gets watched in professional development sessions, but this felt different. The stakes were higher. I had more data points, including my own son in school.

When I finally had a product I liked, I asked a few friends and family to join me. Then it happened. “By the way, here’s the list of who’s in attendance.”

After I took a few seconds to inspect the list: “You sure this isn’t going to be awkward?” I told the organizer.

“Oh, you’ll be fine. You got this, right?”


As you can see in the video, the chancellor and his guests, including many of his cabinet members, attended my talk. It’s one thing to critique your boss after everything is all said and done and quite another to do it live and in person. “Yooooo, Jose, that was ballsy …” was the gist of what Luz said about my talk.

Needless to say, I refreshed my e-mail about a thousand times expecting any number of notices and call-ins. I never got one.

But even if it had come, I knew that this moment was too important to let pass with mediocrity and platitudes. These moments where we have a specific audience and communities we must represent are the ones made for us. The moment for teachers, especially those in marginalized spaces, was here and I’d be the one to bring it.

In my case, I don’t know how many Black / Latinx educators from the hood get the opportunity to represent the profession and the movement forward, but I take that responsibility seriously. I hope this gets shared far and wide, especially in the spaces most likely to doubt our capacity for movement building. I hope my message resonates for the veterans who keep having to burn from both sides of their well-lit candles to the future educators who deserve to know a profession that can be fully theirs. I did this also for the children in our care and the parents who trust us with their gifts to the world.

Mostly, I did it for you. Please watch and show love. It’s our way.

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  1. Pingback: Sharing Diigo Links and Resources (weekly) | Another EducatorAl Blog

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