StoryCorps — a national oral history project whose interviews you’ve probably heard on public radio — kicked off its National Teacher Initiative earlier this week with AFT president Randi Weingarten participating at the White House event.
The project, which launched Sept. 19, celebrates and honors the courageous work of public school educators nationwide. “This is a fantastic opportunity to hear from teachers — the people who are closest to the kids,” said Weingarten. “Their stories will be a window to the world on today’s public education — what’s working, what’s not, and what we can do better to prepare our children for the 21st-century knowledge economy.”
StoryCorps is looking to partner with schools, districts, teachers unions, community groups, and others to conduct an on-site recording day, and will send their staff and equipment to schools or events if the local or state federation can guarantee that at least eight interview pairs that include at least one teacher are available to participate. Each interview takes 40 minutes, and the participants will receive a CD of their interview.
Interview pairs for the National Teachers Initiative may consist of two teachers interviewing one another, friends discussing the impact an exemplary teacher had on their lives, a student or former student interviewing a memorable teacher, or other relevant pairings. The National Teachers Initiative will focus on these heroic teachers from a variety of ethnicities, cultures and age groups. All interviews will be archived and kept in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Select National Teachers Initiative interviews will be edited for nationwide public radio broadcasts throughout the 2011–12 school year.
StoryCorps already is planning to visit cities throughout the country during the 2011-12 school year to record stories honoring at least 625 teachers. These cities include: Albuquerque, N.M.; Baltimore; Fort Riley, Kan.; McComb, Miss.; Mobile, Ala.; New Orleans; New York City; Orlando, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and Zanesville, Ohio.