A Future Educator Talks Being an Active Advocate for Her Students (by Guest Blogger Kelsey Robertson)

Kelsey Robertson was a student in my Enhancing Youth Literacy course and is a future educator.  Read her post about how to be active in fighting educational inequity in big and small ways.

Before class, I was aware of the inequity in the educational system but unaware how pronounced it has become in Portland. As a future educator it is important not only to be aware of the inequities but to actively fight against them. In our class I learned that being active on the local level is just as important as on the higher levels, so I want to focus my work within my neighborhood and Portland. This action plan are my beginning steps to becoming an advocate for my students. 

  1. Share sources of information with others – When I was a guest blogger on the Education Action Network, I posted a link to the post on my Facebook page. Within a day, many of my friends told me how they were astounded to read about what I wrote and had never thought about it before. People have always said that social media is an effective tool to spread the word, and after seeing the response to my little blog post I want to continue to post links to news stories, blogs, and organizations doing interesting work. A subset of this goal is that I want to inspire friends and family to volunteer. Through my final project (creating a directory of places to volunteer for my UB students), I realized how many opportunities are out there. No matter your interests, there is a place for you to donate your time.
  2. Stop multitasking – Multitasking is a bad habit of mine. On top of being a full time student, I have a job and volunteer regularly with 3 organizations! This makes scheduling difficult and can wear me down really easily. In addition to getting more sleep, I need to lighten my load and prioritize more. There are so many things that I want to do, but so little time in the day to do it.  One of the biggest problems is that with the classes and job that I have now, I’m not using my skills to the best of their ability. I’m fluent in Spanish but never use it anymore. My job is an office job to get me through school, but is in no way related to what I want to be doing. My ultimate goal within a year is to get a new job. I want a job that allows me to work with/on behalf of youth, use my Spanish, and ideally it would be related to education or youth advocacy.
  3. Become informed on the policy level – As a future educator, I should be informed on policies locally and nationally. In the past I have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of bills in legislature that would affect educational policy, so I’m going to try and follow another step in the challenge and become an expert on something small. Instead of trying to understand everything, I will study 1 or 2 of the bills in depth and understand them really well. Within 3 months I would like to familiarize myself more with the process a bill undergoes before it is passed. At 6 months I would like to have an understanding of 3 of the bills going into the next legislative session, and after a year I would like to have a working knowledge of most of the education related bills.

To stay on track with these goals, I will print them out and put them somewhere visible on my desk. I will also write reminders in my day planner. I would love email check ins, and my plan is available to be posted on PDXEAN. 


14 thoughts on “A Future Educator Talks Being an Active Advocate for Her Students (by Guest Blogger Kelsey Robertson)

  1. Awesome action plan!! I love your enthusiasm yet realism in knowing you can only do a few things really well versus doing everything all at once. I defintiely need to find a way to make money doing what I love (working with kids & utilizing my speech and hearing knowledge) instead of “wasting” a lot of time and energy working as a waitress. My first goal, like yours – new job!

  2. I absolutely relate to your second goal! I’m a full-time student, I have a job, and I volunteer for 2 different groups and I often feel so bogged down that I feel like I’m not doing my best at any of them. Prioritizing and really excelling at a smaller number of tasks is better than doing an “okay” job at a huge number of tasks.

    However, it can be difficult to lighten the load when it comes to volunteer work, especially once you become close to the organization. I often see with many people who volunteer regularly take on a heavy load simply because there’s no one else there to do it but them. This is part of the reason why it’s so important for us to spread awareness about different issues! So more people understand the importance of being involved!

  3. I love this action plan. It seems very reasonable for anyone to take on, and I find myself inspired by your goals. Lately, I’ve been thinking of how I can stay involved while having a constantly changing schedule with many other commitments. I’ve decided that I won’t be able to stay on with my community placement this next term, but I could totally educate myself on current and future legislation. Thanks for your post!

    • Thanks Olivia! I definitely feel more balanced and healthy now that I have lightened my workload, and I can focus and be more effective at my job (which is now at a school!).

  4. Hi Kelsey,
    I think making an action plan is so important. I have been working on coming up with an action plan as the term and my work at my community placement site are coming to a close. Some steps I plan on taking are to become more informed about issues in my community (McMinnville area) and find an organization to volunteer at. I like how specific your plan for was for becoming informed on local legislation. I would like to come up with a similar plan for myself. Your commitment to education and advocating for your students is inspiring, thank you for sharing!

  5. I think these action plans are great and something that can easily be done. I really relate to your second plan because I currently work, and volunteer and go to school full time so at times it is difficult to find time to prioritize what I want to do in a day. Your action plans have inspired me to make some for my own and make a goal and hopefully I can reach it. Thanks for this great post!

  6. Kelsey,

    Your action plan does make volunteering seem do-able. When I think of volunteering beyond my capstone, I immediately go to your second step. Stop multi tasking! I work full time, I am a student and I vend soap at bazaars and such. This last month has been especially busy. Sometimes I feel like my time is consumed, but I can see how keeping a neat organized checklist like you shared with us makes it possible. Your idea for learning 1 or 2 bills a month is genius. You will become so informative on so many matters and this will feeds back into your social media as well. Just knowing the facts makes you an important resource. I would like to utilize this method as well. Thanks for the ideas of how we can manage and obtain important goals with helping others!


    • Thanks Alicia! Unfortunately the one step that I haven’t followed through with is the learning bills slowly, but I’m getting all fired up again and am looking forward to continuing on with this. Now that I have lightened my work load and made my schedule more manageable, it will be a lot easier.

  7. I really like your action plan. I can definately relate to number too because I am also full time and working. It is always hard to find time to fit other things into my schedule. I want to do some more volunteering for the future and I know I would have too lighten my load to fit it in my schedule.

  8. I think it is great that you have an action plan. You know what you need to do to reach your goals. I am not going into the education field but after taking this class, I want to continue to be involved in the community as well. Your plan is can be used as a model for anyone to get started however, I would find it hard to stop multitasking as a college student. It would definitely be easier once school is over with. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Kelsey, thanks for sharing your action plan. I especially like how each step is realistic. Your second step stood out to me most because it was an action against something (multi-tasking) instead of promoting something (sharing informational sources with others). I also tend to overwhelm myself with a busy schedule and am planning on practicing better time management because I would like to continue my volunteer work at my placement site after this term. You’ve definitely inspired me to set similar goals. Since taking this capstone, what is your current progress of these specific plans? Have you found a new job where you can better utilize your Spanish speaking skills? How has your learning in educational policy developed?

    • I have found a great new job working with an organization providing after school care across PPS. Unfortunately, it is not a school where I can use my Spanish, but it is a step in the right direction! I have learned a lot about operations within a school and kept up a little with current events in education, but that is definitely something that I am looking forward to devoting more time to.

  10. Kelsey,

    As a full time student that also works, I can completely relate with your tendency to multitask. All too often, I think that we try to fit too much into our schedules and don’t often stop to think about how our time is being invested. I think that creating an action plan is a great strategy because it keeps you on track and also helps make things seem less overwhelming.

    I really like how in the third step you simplify learning the different legislative bills. What a great way to take a daunting task and turn it into something fun and manageable! I can’t help but wonder how many people don’t vote because they are overwhelmed by the policies that are put on the ballot. If these policies were more manageable, more easier to understand, how might that change the course of voting outcomes? How has this process of learning the various bills worked for you so far?

    Thank you for sharing,

  11. I feel like multitasking is my middle name. trying to juggle so many rolls and jobs while fitting in sleep is hard and you feel like no one understands but a lot of people due. I have to teach myself how to at least slow down and take a day to myself or else i’m going to drive myself crazy. its sometimes sad how in life you have to schedule in sleep

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