I was recently asked by a mentor, friend, and current doctoral student to tell how teaching has changed over the past decade. This is what I wrote to her.
“I have been teaching 15 years, and there have definitely been changes. When I began teaching, we were taught the whole language approach. A few years later, I attended ARI training, and my approach to reading changed. Before, I was the leader, now I am a facilitator. Previously, I taught everything whole group, and instruction has now changed to small groups. The teacher has become much more of a facilitator (if instruction is done correctly).
Effective instruction is now data driven where previously it was based solely on teacher observation and weekly test grades. Data driven instruction is definitely the better method.
Although, language arts and math instruction has become better quality with the introduction of ARI, AMSTI, and data driven instruction, I feel we still lack in quality science and social studies instruction. Although we have the tools to use (equipment and teaching strategies), time has become a major factor. Standardized testing has greatly influenced this. I mentioned data driven instruction being the best. However, standardized testing is not always. It is a good starting point, but regular progress monitoring is most effective.
Long story short, I feel as if I am a much more effective teacher now than I was years ago. I feel I have received quality professional development and collaborated with fellow teachers to achieve this. I also wonder how much is self motivation. I want to do bigger and better. I want what is best for my students. I don't want to become a stagnant teacher.”
After submitting this to her, I began thinking how the National Board Certified Teacher process affected these changes. Becoming an NBCT is by far the best professional development process I have ever received. By looking intimately at myself as a teacher and comparing it to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: Literacy: Reading/Language Arts, I realized I was doing a lot of things right, but I was also doing some things ineffectively. I continually look for things I need to improve based on the standards, and I correct them. I cherish the process of becoming an NBCT, and I think that is the biggest factor in the changes of my teaching style and has refreshed me as a teacher.
~Written by Cara Whitehead
You can follow her on Twitter @WhiteheadsClass. Her class website can be found here.