Host Guide: National Teach-In To Take Back The American Dream
Thank you for organizing a teach-in! Across the country, thousands of Americans are starting to question the broken economy we're facing. How did we get here? And what can we do about it? At these teach-ins, we'll discuss what the economic crisis means for our communities, where Wall Street fits in, and then start making plans for taking action locally!
Note: This is not a “normal” teach-in. We don't just present a lot of charts and graphs. In addition to powerful data, the one-hour program you can show on television (or stream via the Internet) will feature experts and advocates who will offer a powerful narrative about our economy, the 1%, and the 99%. We hope you will gather people to watch – and then discuss it.
Below are steps, tips, and materials for a successful teach-in. If you have a question that is not answered in this guide, email us at: email@example.com.
Before your event
1. Reserve a venue and think through logistics.
Make sure you've got a space reserved for your event on Tuesday, February 21. Libraries and community centers are great options—but so is your living room!
The time of the teach-in broadcast on Feb. 21 will be 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 Central, 7 Mountain and 6 Pacific.
You will want to have one or more TV sets and a connection to the Web, a cable system, or a satellite dish. For info on how to access the program through any of these means, click here.
Once you have the space lined up, think through what else you'll need to have a good event. Do you have enough chairs? Will you be serving food?
2. Recruit others to come.
Teach-ins are more fun with a few other folks! So you should reach out to your friends, family, co-workers and anyone else who might be interested. The most tried-and-true way we know to get people out to events is to pick up the phone and call them.
We can help recruit: When you post the details of your teach-in event with us, we will share those details (and your contact info) to others in your area who might want to attend.
3. Review the teach-in presentation and facilitators' notes.
Rebuild the Dream has created a 90-minute presentation that you can use to introduce the TV portion, and to lead the discussion after the TV show at your teach-in. It will help your group walk through the effects the broken economy is having in your community, what caused the current economic mess, and what we can all do about it. We've created this presentation so that anyone can lead a teach-in. You don't need to be an expert to run a great teach-in if you use the materials we're offering. Download the materials on this page.
We've also created a set of facilitators notes to help you go through the presentation. They give you more background on the slides, along with tips for covering the material and facilitating discussion. Please read through it. All this is just to give you background so you can introduce the TV show and lead the discussion afterward.
We've tried to create the teach-in so that it will work in a wide range of situations. If you're hosting a small group in your living room, you all can watch on television or on a laptop. If you're hosting a big group at a library or union hall, you can display the teach-in on one or more large-screen TVs or on a laptop connected to a projector. If you're hosting a big group outside at an Occupy site, you will have to improvise, making sure you have electrical power, the right kind of video or Internet connection – and you will need a good sound system. Or you can mix and match any of the above!
Some of you will have other ideas on what you want to do, and that's fine too!
4. Think through action steps
A big goal of these teach-ins is to help folks get engaged in their community. You'll notice the close of the presentation is all about this. Please take a few minutes before your event to find some ways for your guests to get involved locally.
5. Get your equipment ready
As we mentioned above, there are a lot of ways to run a teach-in. But, if you're using our presentation, here are a few pieces of equipment you may want to have ready:
- Small group: A computer with an Internet connection with a decent sized monitor or a projector.
- Medium-sized group: One or more large-screen TVs connected the internet, to a cable system that gets Free Speech TV or RT TV, or a satellite dish tuned to Free Speech TV or RT TV.
- A sound system connected to your computer (or the Internet).
6. More information
If you'd like more information on our broken economy and what we can do about it, we've put together a list of a few more resources.
During your event
The time of the teach-in broadcast will be Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 Central, 7 Mountain, and 6 Pacific. So please advertise your event to start at least half an hour–maybe more—before the TV show starts. You will want to make sure everyone is settled—and perhaps make introductions—and still have time for some introductory remarks before the show starts.
Start as close to on time as possible. Don't wait more than 10 minutes after your advertised start time.
Some Tips for Successful Hosting
- Get there early: There are often a few early birds at events like this, so make sure you're at the meeting spot 30 minutes early.
- Be friendly! Many folks coming to the event won't know anyone else there. So, make sure you say hello to everyone who comes and make them feel welcomed. Don't forget to pass around a sign-in sheet where people can leave their name and contact information.
- Don't be afraid to be a strong facilitator. It's easy to get very passionate about the current economic situation. But, if someone wants to take the teach-in off-topic, you have the right to gently but firmly ask them to step back so that others can fully participate. One tip is to tell folks that the group can talk about other topics at the end of the teach-in.
After your event
1. Fill out a post-event survey. After your teach-in, you will receive a survey in an email. Please watch for the survey email, and fill it out completely. This lets us know what went well and how we can improve events in the future.
2. Send in your photos. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your photos from the event!
3. Thank your attendees, and remind them of the next steps of the campaign, especially the follow-up meeting. Please encourage folks to send in photos. And soon afterward send attendees a thank-you email encouraging them to stay involved.
Note: The Campaign for America's Future is one of the founding members of the American Dream network. And together with Rebuild the Dream, we are also co-sponsoring the Take Back the American Dream conference, June 18-20. Plan to join us in June for the big national conference, and urge the attendees at your teach-in to do the same.