Friday, July 29, 2011

NBPTS Conference - Day One

Several years ago, the state of Massachusetts offered teachers the entrance fee to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification.  At the time, I was changing grades which is a big job so I decided to dovetail my efforts and apply for the entry fee grant and embark on the NBPTS certification process and a new grade level at the same time.

Just as the literature stated, it was a 400-hour process to obtain certification.  I read many books, created videos of my classroom efforts, and reflected on my practice.  When I received the certification it was met with little fanfare (the librarian made me a delicious cake to celebrate) in Massachusetts, and a year later the grants had disappeared.  I was proud when I received certification as I felt the process was a worthy, growth producing professional development event--one that helped me grow to be a stronger, more versatile teacher.

This year, for the first time, I am attending the NBPTS annual conference in Washington, D.C.  The NBPTS board has put together a dynamic schedule of terrific speakers and workshops.  There's been plenty of opportunity to network with teachers and other educational professionals from around the country.  It's awesome to be in the midst of so many who are dedicated to our country's schools and students--people who have devoted countless hours to honing their craft and serving children well.

Yesterday, we had the chance to listen to Daniel Pink and Diane Ravitch speak.  Both speakers advocated for school change that will provide students with essential skills in the 21st century.  Their talks educated us about the direction we need to take in our profession and schools to motivate children and create conditions for excellence.  I also had the opportunity to meet with other Massachusetts educators to talk about current efforts in our state related to educational change and growth. In addition, I spent an hour or so sharing technology ideas with two dynamic teachers from Newport News, VA.

I embarked on the NBPTS to challenge myself to reach high standards.  At the conference, I'm realizing that the professional collegiality and connection is a great aspect of NPBTS.  The opportunity to share ideas and grow from one another is terrific, particularly at a time when the teaching profession is often ridiculed and degraded.  I'll continue to blog about my learning at the conference.  As always, your thoughts and questions are welcome.