Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some Inspiration

As we are all beginning a new school year, here is some inspiration from an 11 year old fifth grade student from Dallas ISD. It was performed for over 20,000 educators.

If you have a favorite inspirational video, please share it with us.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Teachers Supporting Teachers

How well I remember the day I received the notice that I was a NBCT. I recall reading my letter over and over, just to make sure that I was reading correctly. Aside from “Congratulations. You are a National Board Certified Teacher!” one sentence struck a chord as I read and reread: “You have the opportunity to play an active role in charting the future of American education.” My first thought was, “Who, me?” But then I began to get excited and to wonder exactly WHAT that role would be for me. I had no idea at the time that my journey would lead me down the professional development road.

It started as a simple request from my system’s Technology Director (who is also a NBCT) to help mentor prospective NBCT’s through the process. Before long, I was conducting faculty trainings, speaking at system-wide professional development meetings, and providing PD on the state level. I partnered with my dear friend and colleague Cara Whitehead (@whiteheadsclass) to present many of these sessions and even to give input to some of our administrators regarding teacher professional development.

While I never anticipated this future for myself, over the last few years I’ve realized just how important this role is, not only for the students and educators I reach, but for myself as well.
So why do it?
  • ·        Collaboration is akin to survival. No one can do it all, all by themselves. We need input from other educators who share the same passion for student learning. We need ideas, advice, and encouragement from those who know exactly what goes on in the trenches. Providing professional development allows you to network with others, gaining from them as much as you give in return.
  • ·         As a NBCT, you have a voice. The fact that you’ve earned this distinction gives weight and credibility to what you say. This influence can extend to your faculty, district administrators, state organizations, and even further.
  • ·        It’s one way to “give back.” We’ve all been there---first year teacher, not sure what we’re doing, looking for advice, looking for ideas. I’ve gleaned so much over the years from educators who were simply willing to share! Sharing what I’ve learned is the least I can do.
  • ·        You can have a hand in more students’ learning. This is the most exciting idea to me! By simply sharing with other teachers, you could influence the teaching and learning going on in multiple classrooms!

Looking back down that road, I must say that I would definitely do it all over again! The benefits far outweigh any negatives, and I have learned and grown at least as much from conducting professional development sessions as the educators I’ve helped.

~Written by : Farrah Kilgo
You can follow Farrah on Twitter @KilgosClass. She blogs at

Monday, August 1, 2011

Who Speaks for the Teachers?

Julie Ramsay and I have just concluded attending and participating in an extremely busy but very exciting NBPTS conference.  I do believe the caliber of speakers this year (Diane Ravich, Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond, 2010 teacher of the year---Sarah Brown-Wessling and Pedro Noguera) contributed to making this an outstanding and most memorable event.

Here are my reflections from NBPTS 11:

Good teachers' voices are not being heard nationally or locally.  Over and over again at this conference I heard the question,  “Who speaks for the teachers?”  How can we stop the “beatings” (i. e. negative press) and tell the story of how teachers are helping students achieve even when faced with less and less resources? How do we best communicate that teachers are the solution and not the problem?

We must become teacherpreneurs, not only of the National Board process, but of our student successes and of the teaching profession.  We need to become less humble and more active!

Administrators and legislatures need to trust teacher voices and allow them to make policy and decisions that affect the classroom.

Teachers need to also trust student voices so that they can be given the autonomy to make their own decisions in the learning process.

 Within this decade 50% of our nations teachers will retire.  If accomplished teachers don’t find their voice, the quality of the teaching profession may never recover.

Social networking is a powerful engine for teacher voices. I have seen this first hand through the response the network has received on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.  We need more of your thoughts and comments!

Finally, my hope is that the ALNBCT Network will become the vehicle in Alabama through which our voices will and must be heard.


If you are on Twitter, check out #alnbctnetwork and #nbct11 for the latest on all of this year’s conference activities.

If you are not on Twitter check out our Resources tab for step by step instructions.

~Nancy Turpen