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5 Steps To Amplifying Your Teacher Voice: A Guide To Self Publishing

February 12, 2018
5 Steps To Amplifying Your Teacher Voice: A Guide To Self Publishing

As I enter my tenth year in education, I never cease to be amazed by the quantity of meaningful content created by teachers and students all over the country. I have seen beautiful student poetry and art in school hallways. I have laughed as a teacher read journal entries to me from her first year teaching diary. I have seen a teacher who was struggling in the classroom come alive when delivering a poem about his identity.

Opportunities that allow you to elevate your voice and inspire others should never be ignored. One method to sharing your perspective with a wider audience is by publishing your work. 

If you don’t think you have something worth sharing, you do. Whether it is student poems, journal entries, sketches, and other forms of written or visual art, self-publishing can be for everyone. Keep reading for five easy steps to publishing your work or the work of your students.



What do you have to offer? I have met teachers who use their experiences in the classroom as their muse to create spoken word poetry and stand-up comedy. You should find a topic and approach that matches your own personal style, but here’s a quick list to get you started:

  • Poetry and short stories written by you or your students
  • A collection of anecdotes of what your students say and do
  • A book in which each chapter tells a story about a student that taught you an important lesson (e.g., patience or compassion)
  • A collection of your favorite writing prompts (e.g., 100 warm-ups your students will love)
  • A collection of quotes teachers can read for different purposes



Once you have identified your content, map out how you will organize and create the content. For my journal, it was a simple spreadsheet that allowed me to slowly build my content. Once I had a spreadsheet that divided my book into 45 manageable chunks of content, I committed to filling out 3-5 rows every day until my entire spreadsheet journal was written.



Once your writing is complete, the fun part begins: the design phase. First, you want to identify what software you want to use. I used Microsoft Publisher because it’s free and easy to use. See this list of free and paid options.

Then, you will want a template you can build on. There are plenty of free, downloadable templates for all types of book sizes. If you know the size that you want your finished product to be, a simple search (e.g., “6 x 9 chapter book templates”) will yield a variety of options.

If you’re anything like me, you want your finished product to have beautiful graphics and designs. To create free, high-resolution graphics for inside my book, I used Canva. To find a royalty-free high resolution for my cover, I used Pixabay.



There are a variety of self-publishing companies on the internet to choose from. This phase can at times take a bit longer than designing your book, so make sure to time it accordingly.

Two publishers I recommend are:

  • The Book Patch, which can turn around large quantities in a relatively short time frame for a low price
  • Create Space, which can print books on demand and allows you to sell them on Amazon.com



If you choose Create Space as your publisher, you can start promoting and selling (or gifting) your book within 24 hours on Amazon.com. If you opt for ordering your books and selling them yourself, it typically only takes a week to get your first copies.

Then, enjoy telling the world about the awesome book you just published. Share it on your social media pages. Take it to conferences. Gift it to friends and ask them to tweet about it. Tell Teach For America about it!

And, most importantly, enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with learning new skills, believing in your gift, and elevating your voice past the four walls of your classroom.