Sunday, July 16, 2017

#NBCTStrong: Invigorated Teaching/Learning Path

I dug into the @NBPTS guide, What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do. I analyzed the research with respect to the system and grade-level team I work with to initiate work, discussion and debate related to the NBPTS Five Propositions relative to our grade-level and system efforts. I imagined what a whole-school #NBCTstrong effort might look like and have prepared questions and NBPTS focus, in part, for a meeting with our school superintendent to advocate for ways that we can better embed the propositions to our collective work, ways led by these questions:
  • How can we foster decision-making that is a more inclusive, systematic, targeted and relevant process at the elementary level?
  • How can we communicate in ways that are streamlined, transparent, timely and effective in order to develop a dynamic teaching/learning community?
  • How do we openly and inclusively develop new ideas and innovation?
  • How do we incorporate the questions, passions, experience and interest of all stakeholders in the work we do?
  • How do we choose new initiatives, and decide on the ways we use time and prioritize instruction? Should this be more of a students-first approach rather than one-size-fits-all approach? Where is the right balance here?
  • How can we better distribute leadership so that we develop more dynamic systems of effort and effect?
I ordered Linda Darling Hammond's new book, Empowered Educators, How High-Performing Systems Shape Teacher Quality Around the World, and will read this book, in front of others, to prepare for the meeting with the superintendent as well. 

I am doing this work because I think a lot of good teaching/learning time in schools is wasted in ineffective, demeaning process, and if we can change those outdated, ineffective processes to processes that maximize the talents, experience, and dedication of all stakeholders in education, we will serve children better.

Now that I've created a good path for advocacy to empower educators more with greater leadership, voice and choice, it's time to focus in on my own work--the work that exemplifies what I believe in and do with and for children. Like every educator, I am not a perfect instructor, mentor or guide--every year I am challenged by new learning hurdles and challenges, and every year I use those practice mountains to set goals and focus on becoming better. With that in mind, I have the following goals as I complete summer study and ready for the school year:
  1. Find ways to collaborate better with the math coach--I wrote a letter to our coach, received wonderful feedback and suggested a number of areas for good collaboration including modeling math games, reviewing MCAS data together and working to coach students successfully with Symphony Math.
  2. Develop my content and pedagogical knowledge with regard to math and STEAM teaching.
  3. Work with grade-level colleagues to analyze the fifth grade curriculum map and make important revisions, modifications and additions.
  4. Develop our student/family in-take and orientation processes to better develop relationships and knowledge of every child and family as well as to welcome all families and students to the learning year with warmth, understanding and an invitation to work together for the best possible success. Potentially use the avenue of Teach-to-Lead to grow this effort. 
  5. Continue to advocate for better systems of decision making, communication, share and holistic assessment in order to maximize our collective talents, knowledge and practice to serve children well.
  6. Work with NEA, NBPTS, MTA TPL/NBPTS and DESE TAC to develop practice and process to elevate educators and supports in order to improve teaching/learning communities.
  7. Foster integration of SEL into grades 3-5 curriculum by sharing the lessons and information available in the book, Integrating SEL and Academic Learning--a book I co-wrote with colleagues.
  8. Elevate the teaching/learning environment by writing grants to support better furniture and signage. 
  9. Serve as local union Secretary to communicate all local union information to members by way of minutes and website, draft bylaws revision, assist with evaluation process revision, and serve on the board to help make decisions that serve the membership well. 
Similar to all educators, I have a full plate. The potential for our work and profession is limitless therefore we have to continually weed and prune our teaching/learning gardens so that the most important efforts are prioritized. Onward.