Our Blog: The Standard

Racism, Privilege and Implicit Bias: One Teacher’s Journey, Part 1
Ben Lathrop, NBCTDecember 6, 2019

I can vividly remember the first time I encountered racism. A white student, a senior in high school, had just finished reading Richard Wright’s Native Son. It was, to my knowledge, the first book by an African-American writer that he had ever read. Another white student asked him whether it was difficult to read. “Well, no,” he said. “I mean, the author is black.” “That’s racist!” she replied. And of course, she was right. It was a good thing she said something, because until that moment, the student had never really given any thought to his implicit biases or entertained…

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Keep on Staying
Michelle Morgan, NBCTDecember 3, 2019

After a long day at school, I will get on my phone and see what stories are in the news.  I read lots of articles about teaching.  Recently, I have been reading too many accounts of why teachers have chosen to leave the profession entirely.  I find this distressing. Teaching is my second career.  My undergraduate degree is in advertising, and my first career was as an account manager for an advertising agency.  I thought it would be exciting, but I did not enjoy it.  I wasn’t really connecting with anyone and I wasn’t making a difference. I decided I…

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Stop Celebrating Teacher Self Sacrifice
Lory Peroff, NBCTNovember 18, 2019

“My son’s teacher woke up early to attend his 8am baseball game & cheer him on the sidelines!  She makes sure to attend one extracurricular activity for EVERY one of her students.  Her love and support is so special.” “Mr. Tom is such a great teacher.  He wakes up early every morning to get to school and stays late every night working tirelessly with students.” “Mrs. Ching is an outstanding educator who brings in healthy snacks from home every day to make sure all her students have a nutritious breakfast.” Social media is full of these feel good posts. These…

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First Believe, Then Achieve
Joel Lookadoo, NBCTNovember 14, 2019

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford I believe Henry Ford’s quote to be particularly true in the realm of education. When teachers and students believe they can learn, they will. But the same is true for the opposite. John Hattie, a professor and researcher in education from the University of Melbourne in Australia, has synthesized research studies to look at how different factors impact student achievement. The list of factors, which can be found at visible-learning.org, shows that Collective Teacher Efficacy has the greatest impact on student achievement. This outperforms other…

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Having Fierce Conversations with Kids Matters
Jill Downs, NBCTNovember 11, 2019

While the term “fierce” may seem a little harsh, it got your attention.  I’ve served as a teacher and literacy coach for years — and in those years, I’ve always had engaging and honest conversations with my students.  Teachers do that. They care. They talk to their kids. I believe educators should set out to grow the whole child and teach responsively.   I do focus on my subject matter, but getting to know my kids through a variety of means enables me to connect with students and help them grow, academically and personally. Kid watching, recording observations, anecdotal notes, reflective…

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Positivity for Pessimists: How I Climbed Out of An Unhappy Hole and Found My Dark Humor Happy Place
Jennifer Leban, NBCTNovember 6, 2019

It all started out of boredom. I’ve worked in the same building for 18 years. I work in the same building where I student taught. I teach the same grade levels. For a few years, I was able to entertain myself by designing new lessons and projects, but even that grew stale quickly. So when a new position opened up within the district, I knew that it was meant for me! I applied, interviewed, and eagerly awaited the phone call letting me know that I’d gotten the job. But that’s not what happened. Although I was absolutely crushed, I used…

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When My School Votes…
John King Jr.November 4, 2019

In the last midterm election, young people voted at record rates, and that is something we should all celebrate. However, even with this historic turnout, two-thirds of young people were missing from the polls. As we work to close opportunity gaps for the most underserved students in our nation, we must also work to close voting gaps if we’re to secure a better future for generations to come. To achieve this goal, at an early age, our children must develop civic knowledge and skills, as well as an appreciation for engaged citizenship. This means that all children must have access…

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Missing the Mark: An Unexpected Journey
Tammy Kirkland, NBCTOctober 31, 2019

Blog, they say. Not a problem because I love writing. Write about not certifying the first time…my pen stops, my heart quickens not because I do not have anything to say but because there are so many emotions and so many things to say. Scores will be released soon; perhaps they already have been by the time you are reading this. I have been on all possible sides of this equation: candidate and candidate support provider; my perspective is manufactured and tailored by the best teacher of all, experience. Let’s start with why I did not certify on my first…

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Teachers Aren’t Soldiers
Tony Zani, NBCTOctober 18, 2019

I am a National Board Certified Teacher and a ten-year veteran of the United States Army. Two things I know well are education and weapons. Let’s not mix them. There are companies that offer concealed carry permit classes to teachers. Politicians across the country have expressed that armed teachers are a good way to stop school shootings. Some even suggest paying teachers a stipend for getting weapons training and carrying a gun at school. In my time in the Army, I spent an extraordinary amount of time learning to accurately fire a weapon in all sorts of stressful situations. It’s…

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Inside the Story
Ben Lathrop, NBCTOctober 8, 2019

The students in my International Baccalaureate Literature and Performance class recently read “The Bean Eaters,” a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks about an elderly, very ordinary married couple who share meager meals and memories: They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair. Dinner is a casual affair. Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, Tin flatware. Two who are Mostly Good. Two who have lived their day, But keep on putting on their clothes And putting things away. And remembering . . . Remembering, with twinklings and twinges, As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that…

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