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My Journey to West Virginia State Teacher of the Year
Jada Reeves, NBCTDecember 5, 2018

I was broken down and defeated. I did not love teaching anymore.  I was doing the same thing over and over and was bored. I needed a change.  I even contemplated changing careers. Then, one day, I was assisting in a 2nd grade classroom.  I look back and remember where I was in that room and which desks I was standing beside when the thought came through my head:  I need to do something!  I began thinking back to my college days when our professors spoke to us of National Board Certification.  I knew I always wanted to achieve this…

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Principal (Teacher?): “Everyone a leader, everyone a learner.”
Jonathon Medeiros, NBCTNovember 27, 2018

I clearly remember when I first heard that phrase, regarded as a rapidly tiring cliché by many working in the Hawaii public school system. I was at a lunch meeting a few years ago, when about 20 other Hawaii State Teacher Fellows and I were joined by then Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz. We were discussing the forward direction of the Hawaii DOE and hoped for change in the paradigm that predominated educational administration in Hawaii. The crux of Schatz’s belief is shared ownership over the school system, from teaching to curriculum to school design to administration. “Everyone a leader, everyone…

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Why a Great Teacher is Not Enough
Joshua Ray, NBCTNovember 26, 2018

In some schools, a great teacher can be used to do more harm than good. Where there are clearly identified “good” and “bad” teachers, often parents demand their child be placed in certain classes, staff members feel jealous, leaders are perceived to pick favorites, and achievement gaps develop across differing levels of instruction in the building. Where greatness is celebrated in isolation in schools, only a select group of kids benefit. Additionally, the principal who allows great teaching to remain in isolation must then accept the responsibility of choosing which children to exclude from the best his school has to…

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7 Experiences New Teachers Should Seek Out for a More Satisfying Career
David B. Cohen, NBCTNovember 15, 2018

Congratulations, or belated congratulations, on starting your new (still relatively new) career! While teaching could certainly be a more lucrative profession, it offers a variety of rewarding experiences you can’t find in any other work. The relationships we build with students, families, and communities can be powerful, even transformative. Knowing the work our fellow teachers are doing, we also have the opportunity to make contributions to our profession, and indirectly affect the learning and the lives of even more students. If your teaching preparation was like mine, and like that of most teachers I know, you may have focused so…

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Bald Caps and Basquiat: How the Arts Transform Learning
Jeff Fessler, NBCTNovember 9, 2018

When I was nine, I auditioned for a musical and in my first ever role played a bald, evil king in a purple satin robe. I discovered two things: (1) I was passionate about theatre, and (2) not so passionate about wearing a bald cap. Bald caps aside, I marvel at how that single theatrical experience shaped my future. From that time on I performed in every school production, sang in choirs, was a traveling drama troupe actor during two summers in high school, participated in oratorical contests, and started at the University of Illinois as a theatre major. And…

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From NBCT to TIME Magazine
NaShonda Cooke, NBCTNovember 6, 2018

I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting in my principal’s office… typing in my information to log on… and when I did I saw the words, I honestly wasn’t expecting to see them: CONGRATULATIONS!!!! YOU ARE A NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED TEACHER! My heart stopped and all I remember is screaming at the top of my lungs and my principal rushing in to make sure everything was okay. It was the most amazing professional moment of my career. Me… an NBCT! Well, that was only the beginning. Since then I have served as a mentor and advocate for public education…

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The Moral Imperative of Voting – Civic Education Begins at Home
Jana Bryant, NBCTOctober 30, 2018

Recently, my young adult children informed me that there are two “taboo” topics that shouldn’t be discussed around the kitchen table or at family gatherings: politics and religion. So, if politics isn’t discussed at these events, then when are future young voters getting the opportunity to engage in purposeful conversation with their peers, their families, and other community members to become informed in local politics? According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, roughly 50% of 18- to 29-year-olds voted in the 2016 election. However, less than 20% of young people eligible to…

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Can Executive Function Skills be a School-wide Focus?
Beckett Haight, NBCTOctober 23, 2018

I would be willing to contend that every teacher has had that moment when for some reason they were next to a student who opened their backpack and it was filled with handfuls of loose papers, maybe one notebook for all subjects, and sometimes an old snack at the bottom. Or you may be able to easily think of those students in your class this year who don’t know when things are due, struggle to hit deadlines, spend half the independent work time in class doing other things, or generally wait until the last minute to get work done. These…

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Ace in the Hand: Principal Support for National Board Candidates
Jess Ledbetter, NBCTOctober 9, 2018

In a game of cards, drawing the right card at the right time makes all the difference. It’s primarily a game of luck, and skilled players have better chances. In schools today, having the right teachers makes all the difference. But this is not a game of chance. Skilled principals can stack the deck to nurture teacher success, especially when teachers are pursuing their National Board Certification. So how can a principal make a teacher feel like s/he has an ace in the hand? A few months ago, I started asking myself this question. I’m a Candidate Support Provider, and…

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Is it Important for Students to Want to Learn in Order to Succeed in Learning?
Cheryl Moertel, NBCTOctober 4, 2018

Throughout my teaching career, I have pursued a variety of instructional strategies to increase student learning to a deeper and lasting level for all students. Through this endeavor, I found that one especially prominent underlying cause for student failure or success was student motivation and willingness to learn. Although there are many factors that play into motivation, instructional strategy has been shown to affect it. For the past several years I have been grappling with a variety of teaching strategies that increase student motivation to learn biology and have explored motivation types in various groups of students. Motivation is defined…

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