I host a Virtual Coffee House conversation once a month with the Vareky Teacher Ambassadors.  The teachers in the ambassador program have been  identified as some of the top educators in the world by the Vareky Foundation as part of the Global Teacher Prize.

Our most recent conversation focused on the Sustainable Development Goals that were created by the United Nations and how teachers can empower students with the skills they need to make the goals a reality.

It was amazing to have the opportunity to participate in a conversation with teachers from literally every part of the world whose lives are as far opposite as the earth is round.  However, the one thing they have in common is a love for teaching children.  I marveled at how effortlessly they worked to weave together a Top 10 list of reasons why teachers should be considered the gatekeepers of the Sustainable Development Goals.  They refused to let barriers like language, race, ethnicity, economic status, and access to technology cloud their reason.  They just talked about what was important and agreed upon it.  Maybe it is just that simple.

I look forward to working with them over the coming weeks to develop content that we can share with teachers and the rest of the world that will hopefully spark a conversation over the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals.  In the meantime, I would like to encourage everyone else to consider the approach the VTA’s used and start the conversation.

Joseph Fatheree is an award winning author, educator, and filmmaker. He has received numerous educational awards, including being recognized as a Top 10 Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, Illinois Teacher of the Year, and the NEA’s National Award for Teaching Excellence.  He currently serves as the Director of Strategic Projects for the National Network of State Teachers of the Year in Washington, D.C. and is the Instructor of Creativity and Innovation at Effingham High School in Illinois. His opinions are his own.