EmpoWWering Teachers During a Challenging Time: Teaching Fellows Institute

  • Categories:

    Community, Work

  • Date:

    December 17, 2020

EmpoWWering Teachers During a Challenging Time: Teaching Fellows Institute

Community Work

Each year, the Wray Ward EmpoWWer program selects a group of local nonprofit organizations to receive marketing service grants that will help further their work in the Charlotte area. Framed by three pillars — creativity, shelter and advancement — EmpoWWer also gives employees a chance to give back as part of our commitment to social responsibility since we opened the agency’s doors in 1977. Teaching Fellows Institute is one of our four 2020 EmpoWWer partners working with internal teams at Wray Ward as part of this rewarding initiative.

Overlooked. Underpaid. Underappreciated. Teachers have one of the hardest jobs around. They not only need to ensure our children gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed, but also their role extends well beyond that of a subject matter expert.

Teachers are surrogate parents, counselors and role models — to name a few hats they may don on a daily basis. Driven to help, they often say yes to every request, adding after-school club sponsor, sports coach or school dance chaperone duties to their already full schedules.

Enter Teaching Fellows Institute (TFI), a nonprofit organization founded to recognize and honor outstanding teachers in the Charlotte area. TFI creates professional development opportunities to further develop teachers’ leadership skills and expertise. By providing support and training while also celebrating teachers’ talents and accomplishments, TFI strives to retain effective and engaged teachers in Charlotte schools.

TFI applied to Wray Ward’s EmpoWWer program for help creating video content that would tell some of the stories behind the 400-plus teachers who have participated in the TFI summer institute. The goal is twofold: spur donations from individuals and foundations and increase awareness among teachers to boost applications to the annual summer symposium.

Wray Ward’s Motion and Connections teams identified two teachers (first grade and eighth grade math) and an elementary school principal to be featured in the video profiles. Selections were based on pre-interviews about the teachers’ careers in education and experiences with TFI. Our Motion team chose animation as the creative execution to tell each educator’s story. The technique makes a natural connection to the chalk, dry-erase and smart boards teachers use in their classrooms. In addition, the animated line drawings and text visually amplify key messages in each video.

Long-form video profiles, ideal for TFI’s YouTube channel, take the viewer inside each educator’s world in the classroom and school building while also highlighting TFI’s influence. This includes additional support the organization provided during pandemic-induced remote learning. Wray Ward also created shorter versions of each profile video for use on TFI’s social media channels.

Watch eighth grade math teacher James O’Neal talk about his dual duty as a role model and math teacher and how TFI taught him the importance of self-care.

Learn how Jeané Rowell loves being a part of her first grade students’ lives and how TFI set her on fire to grow professionally.

Hear how TFI helped Trina Potter understand she had the potential to influence many more students’ and teachers’ lives by transitioning from the third grade classroom to school principal.

TFI began using the video profiles on Giving Tuesday. These videos will be part of the organization’s ongoing fundraising efforts. They will also aid in marketing to teachers to increase applications for the program.

“High-quality video by creative professionals is out of TFI’s budget, and knowing the old adage that a picture tells a thousand words, I felt such videos would have the most impact for TFI,” said Barbara Caldwell, executive director of TFI. “Knowing Wray Ward’s reputation and quality of professionals, I knew their work product would be exceptional! Many, many thanks for choosing TFI!”

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.