I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the 2014 Teaching & Learning Conference put on by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards this week. I was able to come together with teacher leaders from across the 50 states and other countries from around the world to learn together. This was an amazing chance for our field to share different and innovative ways of teaching. We listened to expert teachers translate what is happening elsewhere and apply it to our varied contexts.
I valued the time to support and listen to each other tell stories and share our realities. It helped me appreciate the genius and passion that is alive in our profession. This kind of dynamic collaboration reminded me of my two favorite teacher qualities: love of our students and love of learning.
I had the opportunity to meet and learn with people I’ve only known in the on-line community. And I found many new leaders to follow and read. I enjoyed time with local colleagues strengthening our connections and plotting new innovations together.
We know that true reform will only come from within as we break the barriers in our system. Who is better suited to lead the charge than teacher leaders? We have the skill and expertise to make great things happen.
Let’s maintain these connections that we made this week. Let’s continue to fight for equity for our students. We are stronger together. We must recruit more teachers to become National Board Certified, and we must support them on their journey. As Ron Thorpe reminded us, we need to grow to scale. We must become a true profession and create a system where it is not assumed that leaders leave the classroom, but lead from within. The world will always need more talented, caring teachers.
So I return home to my students with more than I left with. I came home with a long list of new books to read and a few books that I was lucky enough to have the author sign. I also came home with some homework given by National Teacher of the Year and National Board Certified Teacher Jeff Charbonneau. He challenged us to better our profession by spending 5 minutes a day lifting up our schools and each other. I also brought home the sparks of optimism and energy that I took from the conference. I’m reminded that the spirit of our profession is that collaboration is the key to innovation. I’ve got boots on the ground tomorrow, ready to teach.