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Appreciate the Teaching Profession by Securing its Future
Dan Brown, NBCTMay 5, 2017

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and teachers deserve it. Teachers deserve bagel breakfasts, flowers, and Starbucks gift cards. Teachers deserve higher pay, sane teaching loads, and technology that works. They deserve copy paper. Teacher Appreciation Week is a great time to give teachers these things. It’s also a good time to consider how to recruit and prepare a new generation of highly skilled teachers that we can appreciate in the years to come. With declining enrollment across the country in postsecondary-based teacher preparation programs, and an all-time low number of graduating high school seniors indicating interest in teaching, we have to…

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Words Matter: I Don’t “Give” Grades
Gina Wilson, NBCTMay 1, 2017

My daughter loves cooking shows so we watch a lot of Food Network TV at our house. Most of these shows are competitions, and when the shows get to the elimination point I often feel myself becoming agitated. I couldn’t figure out why until one of our recent daylong staff meetings to assess student progress. In my class, I don’t “give” grades – my students demonstrate their mastery of skills and I report a “grade” that reflects that. Our program assesses students on soft skills and academic skills and we discuss these expectations daily in class. My students practice skills…

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Teachers Must Be Ready to Engage
Sydney Chaffee, NBCTApril 19, 2017

It was late winter in my ninth grade Humanities class. We were learning about the history of South Africa—how the white-ruled government oppressed people of color and called it “apartheid,” and how those oppressed people resisted. My student Mark was having a hard day. He had repeatedly disrupted class with disrespectful comments towards his peers. I wrote him a pass to see the dean, and he was angry. On his way out the door, he looked back at me and yelled, “How can they have a white person teach us about apartheid? That’s so racist.” Being a white teacher in…

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Teaming Up to Support Teachers, from Beginning to Experienced
Amanda Ward, NBCTApril 13, 2017

When I first started teaching, nearly 20 years ago, I remember the excitement of setting up my classroom, preparing to teach three different high school English classes, supervise the student newspaper and act as the advisor of the junior class. By the end of September, reality had set in. My students had serious challenges outside of the school, impacting their performance in my class. I remember speaking to the mother of one of my students about his difficulties and she asked me what I thought she should do. At the time, I thought, “I’m 27 years old with no children of…

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National Board Certification: Journey to Becoming an Accomplished Teacher
Audra Damron, NBCTApril 6, 2017

Editor’s Note: This blog post has been reposted with permission from the author. See the original post here. In the Fall of 2014, I hit a fork in the road. No longer a new teacher, with 4 years of teaching under my belt, I wanted to take the first step in becoming a lifelong learner. I looked into two options: working towards a Masters degree or obtaining National Board Certification. Both would allow me to obtain additional knowledge that would benefit me in my classroom, provide a pay increase, and require time, effort and hard work to be successful. But…

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Humbling and Transformative: The Path to Becoming an NBCT
Maura Anderson, NBCTMarch 24, 2017

I fell in love with teaching the summer I worked as a camp counselor for kids with disabilities. I was on my break between my sophomore and junior year of college. That summer, I was assigned to work with an eight-year-old boy who had an emotional disability and he stole my heart. I promptly told my parents that I wanted to become a special education teacher and I never looked back. I was thrilled when my first day of school as a special educator arrived. I was the teacher who was going to change the world and knew everything at…

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How to Help Teens Deal with the Challenges of Male and Female Gender Expectations
Ray Salazar, NBCTMarch 8, 2017

Through our teaching, socially conscious teachers aim to create learning environments that help students see themselves as change agents, if not in their society, at least in their own lives. Twenty-one years ago when I started teaching, I could simply say, “I teach.” But in the last few years, I’ve found that describing what I do is much more complex. In addition to the academic part of teaching, I find that I am helping students deal with social-emotional issues regularly. Too often, I learn about a student’s struggles with mental health. I learn about students who harmed themselves. I learn…

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Teachers are Members of Learning Communities
Susan Lafond, NBCTFebruary 22, 2017

Recently re-released, What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do articulates that National Board’s Five Core Propositions for teaching. Similar to medicine’s Hippocratic Oath, the Five Core Propositions are held in common by teachers of all grade levels and disciplines and underscore the accomplished teacher’s commitment to advancing student learning and achievement. This blog focuses on core proposition 5 that states, “Teachers are members of learning communities.” What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do provides a general understanding of the teaching profession while the Standards define it across the content areas and pedagogical levels. For me, the…

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Developing Your PLN, Early and Always
Sarah Giddings, NBCTFebruary 10, 2017

From the first day I stepped foot into my class in a small urban public high school, I realized one reality about teaching. Traditionally, the classroom can be one of the most isolating places to be for an educator. Although this is not my experience today, it took me a long time, many tears, and much frustration to find a sustainable network of educators that I could learn from regardless of classroom, location or grade level. This accessible group of educator peers is usually called a professional learning network, or PLN. When I graduated from college, I stayed in touch…

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Meaningful Parent Engagement
Ambereen Khan-Baker, NBCTFebruary 8, 2017

Recently re-released, What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do articulates the National Board’s Five Core Propositions for teaching. Similar to medicine’s Hippocratic Oath, the Five Core Propositions are held in common by teachers of all grade levels and disciplines and underscore the accomplished teacher’s commitment to advancing student learning and achievement. This blog focuses on core proposition 5 that states, “Teachers are members of learning communities.” How can teachers and school leaders engage parents and families in meaningful ways, to ensure that we are meeting students’ needs? What kind of audience are we for the voices of parents…

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