From the Memoir of a Teacher

August 10, 2017

The Top Three Things Every North Carolina Teacher Should Experience Before Exiting the Teaching Field

Note:  I’m from North Carolina and this post focuses on my experiences there. But the blog is relevant to teachers across the country. Get Board-certified. Renew your certification. And, stay in the classroom and find the right ways to rejuvenate yourself and your practice. These are win-wins for all teachers, no matter where you’re from.

I am a veteran business education teacher in North Carolina and my journey has been a win-win discovery for me and my students for more than 20 years. There are three win-wins every North Carolina teacher should explore before exiting the teaching field. My top three picks have helped propel me to the next stage of my career and there is no turning back now.

The top three things that every teacher should experience as a teacher in North Carolina are:

  • Obtaining National Board Certification
  • Renewing National Board Certification
  • Attending a session at the North Carolina Center for Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT)

Obtaining National Board Certification in 2000 was a milestone accomplishment for me. Never before had I been asked by someone to explain the “why” behind my teaching coupled with video recordings of my classroom instruction. I was eager to share the “why” and was flabbergasted to find out that others felt the same as I did and had recorded their analyses in The National Board Standards. If you have not pursued National Board Certification or you pursued and did not achieve, you must try and try again. It is a life-changing professional development opportunity.

Secondly, renewing National Board Certification in 2010 was an even greater accomplishment. The 10 years came upon me quickly and I wobbled on whether or not I should renew. However, as my mentor and coach, Dr. Rita T. Lamb stated, “…once you obtain certification, you take the necessary steps to maintain your certification.”  There was no more discussion as I once again submitted my written commentary and videos. It was as though the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards wanted to check in on me to see if I maintained the momentum I documented 10 years before. No one except the National Board had asked me to reflect on my growth process and to present a written plan of improvement for the future. If you are up for renewal, you must renew again.

Lastly, I recently attended North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) at Cullowhee for the first time. I have termed it the “Teacher Resort.” It worked out that my session was during National Teacher Appreciation Week. What a great time to be away at a teacher resort, collaborating and sharing ideas that would advance my teaching. What an amazing experience! It was perfect timing in my career journey. I chose a professional development session entitled “Project-Based Learning in Digital Format,” which is directly related to my course delivery content. I do not know which deserves more praise: the facilities at the resort, the teachers who attended the sessions, the instructors, or the collective group of people who developed the idea of having a destination for teachers that mirrored a type of “governor’s school for teachers.” All of the sessions were led by a dedicated educator who offered not only the best professional development delivery I had ever encountered but shared a wealth of pedagogical skills, digital tools, cross-curricular ideas that can only be categorized, as they say in Hollywood, as “drop the mic” moments! Because of North Carolina’s perfect geographical location that the “Teacher Resort” has two locations: a facility in the mountains and a facility on an island. For North Carolinians, if you have not attended NCCAT, sign-up today and do not delay.

Sure, we have a lot of work to do in North Carolina, but my top three experiences have helped me stay the course, keeping focused on providing quality instruction that beckons students to be lead learners at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

What are your top three teaching experiences that have compelled you to stay in the classroom? Tell us on social media using #top3ED.

Akinyi J. Edmonds, NBCT

Akinyi J. Edmonds is a renewed National Board Certified Teacher who has taught in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) in NC for 19 years and is currently serving as a NC Hope Street Group Teacher Voice Fellow. She has written curriculum, mentored teachers, and facilitated computer technology professional development sessions. She mentors students outside of the classroom through the student organizations, Future Business Leaders of America and Student Council. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from East Carolina University and holds from North Carolina State University both a Master of Education and a Master of School Administration.