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Sometimes life gets in the way, but that doesn’t mean give up
Edie Guerra, NBCTJanuary 13, 2020

On August 13, 2016 I began my National Board journey. Little did I know at this time I would also embark on another journey. Because my school district and teacher’s union supports National Board, I was able to encourage 10 teachers at my school to join me in this work. The local union arranged for educators to provide us with support, meeting regularly, reading our portfolios and doing what they could to help make us successful. It’s also worth noting that our union also provided financial supports. There is much to learn – the standards and more – and the…

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We need to change our high-school students’ expectations about teacher feedback
Ray Salazar, NBCTJanuary 7, 2020

At the beginning of the year, my Chicago Public Schools high-school students expressed lots of frustration because I didn’t write any comments on their first major essay. “You need to give us feedback,” they demanded. Some doubted I read their essays because I didn’t make a mark. I explained that one of my goals as a teacher has become to build my students’ independence, thus fighting against the image of students stretching out their hands like fans at a rock concert, fluttering their paper for the teacher’s attention. I also fight against the ugly co-dependence that arises when teachers feel…

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Asset-Based Grading to Reward Students for What They Know
Noah Prince, NBCTDecember 17, 2019

Teachers can adopt better grading strategies to reward students for the knowledge they’ve gained, instead of penalizing them for what they haven’t yet mastered My son’s first grade teacher told me that he was lucky to have a younger sister. Six-year-olds are not known for their empathy, and part of Mrs. Seabolt’s job was to build that trait in her students. She’d often see children impatient with classmates who couldn’t tie their shoes or recite their addition tables. Students with younger siblings had an easier time understanding why that behavior wasn’t kind. They recognized, after all, that it was inappropriate…

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Racism, Privilege and Implicit Bias: One Teacher’s Journey, Part 2
Ben Lathrop, NBCTDecember 16, 2019

Last week I wrote about my personal journey to a better understanding of my own white privilege and implicit biases. This week, I would like to suggest three concrete steps white teachers like me can take to acknowledge and address issues of systemic racism in our schools. We can actively decide to set aside our defensive attitudes. Like many white people, I tend to bristle when accused of having implicit biases or, worse, “being racist,” and that response is understandable. As teachers and learners, however, we can acknowledge that we have a lot to learn from the experiences of others.…

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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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