An Interview with Heidi Glidden: Money for Teachers?

Oct 4, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –


1) Heidi, first of all, what is your exact title, and what would you say you DO at AFT?

Heidi Glidden, Manager of Resources and Dissemination for Educational Issues

I am responsible for the Share My Lesson site and for providing resources and other materials to our members to help them be more successful in their positions.

2) Now, tell us about this “Share My Lesson“ website.

Share My Lesson is a website developed by teachers, for teachers. Anyone who works with kids, from day care to classrooms to community centers can register on the site and share their best resources. The site is completely free and it is for all educators – not just AFT members.

There are over 250,000 resources covering all grades and subject areas. We will be continuing to add subjects/topics as recommended by our users. Any member of the site can share their resources. The site includes worksheets, lesson plans, curricula, quizzes, games, and more. Resources can be uploaded in a variety of formats including Word, PowerPoint, interactive white board files and video and audio files.

Users of the site can review, rate (on a five-star scale), “favorite” a resource to their own accounts, a download the resources they want to use. Resources that are highly rated and reviewed are pulled to the top of the lists as users conduct searches. As more users review the sites, we will start to see the higher quality resources moving to the top of the list.

The site also includes a section on Common Core, which provides a list of recommended resources that are of aligned with and reflective of the Common Core standards in English language arts and mathematics. The resources that are included on the site have been identified by a cadre of teachers who were involved with the development of the Common Core standards. These are teachers who know the standards and understand the instructional implications.

3) Perhaps more importantly, tell us about this 5,000 dollar prize

We believe that Share My Lesson is a unique site because it is a site by teachers, for teachers and it is free. When educators have an opportunity to explore the site, they are very excited about sharing their resources with each other. Anyone who registers by Oct. 31, will be entered into a contest. The winner will receive $5000 toward their student loan or their child’s student loan. If no one has a student loan, then the winner will receive a $3,500 VISA gift card.

4) What is TES Connect? – I have never heard of it.

TES Connect is the largest network of online educators in the world. Located in the U.K., TES Connect reached out the AFT about creating a U.S. version of their very popular TES Connect platform for educators here in the U.S. The AFT and TES Connect have entered into a joint-venture to do this work and we are very excited about what we have been able to accomplish so far.

5) Now, student loans seem to be problematic. I have heard of astronomical sums of money being owed. Is there anything the AFT can do? Or are teachers going to be doomed to a long life of interest payments?

Student loans continue to be a problem for many new and veteran teachers. There have been efforts by states and the federal government to offer loan forgiveness and other financial incentives to encourage people to enter the teaching profession and to work in high-needs districts. Unfortunately, with the struggling economy we have seen a number of states eliminating their loan forgiveness programs. We also know that many veteran teachers are not eligible for the federal loan-forgiveness program. We will continue to advocate for incentives and loan forgiveness programs that encourage more people to enter the profession.

6) What have I neglected to ask?

Please let me know if you have any questions or need further information.

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