I am super fortunate to teach English Language Arts at a school populated by amazing students! They are driven, goal-oriented, and kind, working to use language to not just enrich their own minds, but to better understand the world around them. While many of them face significant struggles inside and outside the classroom due to economic, social, and language-acquisition challenges, they hold fast to their optimism and determination to achieve bright futures in college and beyond.
In a world that seems increasingly divisive and willfully deaf to the perspectives of others, my students' curiosity and deep sense of empathy gives me hope for all of us.
As teachers, I think we all have a real responsibility to help shape our students into not just scholars, but engaged citizens, critical thinkers, and good people. The beauty teaching English is that I can present my students with opportunities to read, write, listen, and speak every day about a variety of relevant, contemporary, and challenging issues that can be traced back to great literature, non-fiction, and beyond. I love my job and I love the potential impact I have on my students lives today, tomorrow, and beyond.
Research shows the number one thing that impacts student learning, beyond school budgets and class sizes, beyond textbook selection and course availability, is access to highly-trained classroom teachers. This professional development opportunity fosters significant and long-lasting growth for teachers, which then benefits hundreds of students each and every year. While most teachers want opportunities for fulfilling and relevant professional development opportunities, the realities of ever-tightening budgets narrows or even eliminates options for teachers seeking to grow professionally. My district is no different; with declining enrollment and shrinking funds, the need is greater than ever to “train up” teacher leaders and coaches to bring opportunity back to campuses in the form of formal and informal PD. With a large population of socio-economically disadvantaged students and English Language Learners, the student benefit to having this kind of expertise on campus is significant, with far-reaching effects through the years.
The National Board Certification (NBC) process is a highly structured and reflective experience which prompts educators to examine closely not just their own teaching practices, but their students’ needs and talents, the efficacy of daily practice, and their place as teacher leaders.
My overall goal of pursuing renewal is to continue the hard work I began eight years ago with my initial certification and subsequent years of reflective, ever-evolving teaching practice that have followed. Through the process of NBC renewal, I want to increase my awareness and understanding of my students as individuals (both academically and personally) to best inform my own instruction and support of each student, every class period, every day, and every year. I want to dig deep into the hows and whys of my daily instructional practice by examining student work and reflecting on evidence of my teaching practices, thus better understanding how to guide learning.
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