My Get the Facts Out (GFO) journey started on April 8, 2021 when I attended AMTE’s Get the Facts Out webinar and began looking at the GFO website and Facebook page. I remember being impressed with the materials, and thinking our department should leverage the resource for recruitment, but I was not ready to take the initiative to implement them myself.
In Spring 2023, my course load was increased because enrollment was low in my secondary mathematics methods course. This motivated me to revisit the GFO materials. I registered and attended the MTEP-GFO 2023 Pre-conference in New Orleans. I was excited! I was ready! And I had a vision for when we could use the materials (specifically for an Education Day event at our university). I also attended the 2023 AMTE conference and gravitated to sessions focusing on recruitment efforts, oftentimes consisting of GFO presenters.
After the conference, I registered as a GFO Champion and immediately got paired with a Change Agent, Jean Lee. We discussed ways she had modified the GFO student-facing presentations for her institution and confirmed ideas I had for making the presentation my own. These conversations gave me the confidence to keep moving forward with implementation.
In March 2023, I gave my first GFO presentations as a part of Education Day at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. We had high school students visiting from five different districts, which we split into two groups for GFO student-facing presentations. After the second presentation, a teacher walked up on stage before leaving and thanked me for sharing the real facts about teaching. She explained how she had recently shown someone her paycheck because they did not believe that she made a decent salary.
Some current students had heard about my presentation, and mentioned they would be interested in learning more about teaching as a profession. This resulted in a presentation to current teacher education students in April 2023. I made some adjustments to this one presentation based on the data I received from the high school students (e.g., giving students more time to discuss ideas with peers and ask questions). I also tried a similar presentation with new students and parents that were visiting campus in the spring.
It is now August 2023, and I am still leveraging GFO materials in new ways at my institution. Similar to the bulletin board images shared at the MTEP-GFO 2023 Pre-conference, I have created a large bulletin board for the new school year sharing GFO “Did you know” facts with QR codes to additional resources regarding loan forgiveness, retirement, and advising appointments.
My goals for this year are to continue exploring ways I can leverage the GFO materials at my institution, which my colleagues are now starting to notice. I am also finding ways to integrate this work into my scholarly endeavors, like disseminating lessons learned through conference presentations and incorporating GFO resources into grant writing.
I share my story to demonstrate the ways in which I have engaged in GFO materials (e.g., webinars, pre-conference sessions, mentorship, high school and college student-facing presentations, bulletin board, and dissemination of experiences through conference presentations) and to highlight some take-aways for the AMTE membership to consider:
- We need to keep sharing GFO materials until people are ready for them – sometimes it takes multiple exposures. Are you ready to be a Champion? Sign up: https://getthefactsout.org/become-gfo-champion/
- A little bit of mentoring can go a long way in helping a new champion have a successful GFO experience, and part of that is modeling how we use the materials to others (e.g., conference presentations, one-on-one conversations). Reach out and connect with the AMTE GFO Task Force (W. Gary Martin, Jean S. Lee, Amy Roth McDuffie, and Glenn Waddell, Jr.).
- We still have more to learn about how to best enact the GFO materials and about how these presentations are being received by the diverse population we are attempting to recruit. Share how you have engaged and adapted the GFO materials!