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

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