Valley of Voice

Valley of Voice

Teacher language can have a transformative effect not just on your students’ approach to learning, but on your relationship to teaching as well. In the poem below, Julie Kelly reflects on the remarkable places her own journey with teacher language has taken her.

As I look back to look forward, I’m grateful for the path that

set me on an expedition to the valley of voice

where everyone is seen and heard while listening and learning.

The language of loving-kindness reaches and teaches

the hearts of all that hear: you belong, you matter, let’s learn joyfully. 

The valley of voice continues to invite us back to reflect.

The voice—which unlocks obstacles through “Tell me more” and

“I notice . . .” and “Remind me . . .”—is the key to connecting with others and oneself

as I approach the portal of learning from a perspective of hope.

A hope-filled point of view fills the room with significant moments of learning

in which all are included, encouraged, and lifted up by

the power of the words used in the valley of voice.

Julie Kelly is a consulting teacher for Center for Responsive Schools and a contributing author for Empowering Educators: A Comprehensive Guide to Teaching Grades 3, 4, 5.