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Teacher Recognition

Houston Educators Unite: Community, Support, Advancement

By Kara Wyman, MEd April 17, 2018

It’s rare that we get to connect with other educators outside of our staff rooms, schools, and districts. Concordia University-Portland believes in the power of community, in valuing educators’ voices and expertise, celebrating our hard work, and helping each other and our communities advance. That’s why we helped our Houston-based MEd and EdD students and alums (aka Cavaliers) create the Houston Cavalier Chapter. For their first event, they hosted Educators Unite, a free mixer in Houston, Texas. It was open to anyone who works in education, whether they were affiliated with Concordia University-Portland or not. The goal was to strengthen connections among local education professionals, share knowledge, and magnify the contributions of educators throughout the community.

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Everyone from preK educators to college instructors attended, hailing from various districts throughout Harris County. Also in attendance were school counselors, ABA therapists, administrators, and curriculum specialists. Attendees enjoyed appetizers and cocktails while sharing inspiring and hilarious student stories, and discussing everything from what keeps them motivated to how they can better align curriculum across grade levels and districts.

Guest speaker: Houston Poet Laureate Deborah Mouton

Houston Poet Laureate Deborah Mouton spoke at the event, honoring educators in attendance for their resiliency in the profession and their impact on the community.

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Houston Poet Laureate Deborah Mouton

As a high school English teacher at Cristo Rey Jesuit Preparatory School, Mouton shared an inspiring story about a recent lockdown drill she had with her students. During an emotional and tense few minutes in her classroom, she described a pivotal moment with one of her students—a student who had behavioral issues and had been underperforming. This moment resonated so deeply with him that it positively changed his perspective and performance. She ended her speech encouraging her fellow educators to find and hold on to these special moments, thanking them for embracing both the rewarding and challenging aspects of teaching.

The Poet Laureate later said that she enjoyed the event, calling it “a beautiful representation of the unity educators should have” appreciating the “immediate connections made among educators in the audience.”

What attendees had to say about the mixer

“I’ve never heard of an event like this that’s actually free for educators,” remarked one attendee. “I made so many great connections with inspiring people—and we’re actually being treated to something beyond bad coffee and stale pastries,” laughed another.

“When you celebrate and recognize educators the way Concordia Portland does, it gives us that motivation and sense of value that what I’m doing makes a difference in the lives of my community,” said Wilkie Law III, Concordia MEd graduate and current doctoral student.

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“We can do and become so much more when we’re able to really come together and share our various experiences,” said Houston Cavalier Chapter President Dr. Danielle Taylor. “We hope that this mixer showed everyone the type of community we’re building here in Houston, and what is possible when we get connected.”

 

 

 

 

Hear what some of our education professionals thought of “Educators Unite” and how they’re benefitting from this unique community.

 

Kara Wyman has a BA in literature and a MEd from the University of California-Santa Barbara. She spent a decade working with adolescents as an English teacher, the founder and director of a drama program, a curriculum designer, and a project manager for a teen-centered nonprofit organization. She is now the Alumni and Community Manager for Concordia University-Portland.

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