TCHERS' VOICE / Professional Learning

Signing Off

Tch was founded on a simple idea: To open classroom doors, elevate our ideas on what is possible, inspire and give hope, and ultimately, chip away at the isolation of our profession (the latter of these less simple, of course).

I joined Tch two years into this experiment as the Chief Academic Officer because it was a chance to improve for others what I felt as a teacher: being alone and scrambling for ideas and ways to get better, always. I wanted to be successful, feel successful, and do right –– every day –– by my students. Like everyone, I've felt pain and failure in my life, and yet little haunts me more than the feeling of letting down my students.

As a new teacher it struck me as odd, unhelpful, and unacceptable that teachers floated in different boats within a single school, when we loved and were responsible for students we shared. And thus began my passion –– working to reimagine, redefine, and breathe fresh, joyful air into who we are as a teaching tribe.

Today I'm thinking about the "open doors" metaphor that is at the heart of Teaching Channel in a new way. I'm thinking bigger -- about the role teachers play in advancing all humankind. I can think of no other goal more worthy than modeling for our students how we talk to each other, listen to understand polar opposite viewpoints, and create solutions that reach across the aisle. My sights are set higher for us now –– from ending the isolation (and the damage that causes our profession) to what it means to keep tinkering with the experiment we call democracy, and what it means to guide our colleagues and our students to one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And yet, it is at this juncture that I find myself regrettably stepping away from Tch for personal reasons. Please feel free to reach out to me personally at And know, as always, Tch is here to help support you as we navigate ALL that is teaching, including taking on the ultimate open door we call democracy.

You've got this Tch Community. The power, the strength, and the answers are in each other.

Erika Nielsen Andrew has been a high school teacher, administrator, coach, researcher, facilitator, network leader, and designer of professional learning in the Bay Area for 27 years before she joined Teaching Channel as our Chief Academic Officer. Follow Erika on Twitter: @thenewready

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