Be Bold

Jen Robinson Current Affairs, Education, National Board Certification, Professional Development, Uncategorized

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Recently two other colleagues and myself had the opportunity to be bold and share our stories at our district’s back to school kick off. We weren’t sure how it would be received – but it turned out to be just what we needed. Then we were asked to present at a school board meeting. Again we were not certain how it would be received, but it was exactly what they needed to hear. That said, here is my story…

I’m not sure how you felt at the end of last year, but I was exhausted and looking for direction. I was mentally drained as I met with teachers discussing their formal and summative evaluations. We looked at student learning objectives and targeted growth goals. It was frustrating having conversations with teachers who brought it, every day. We were tired from analyzing data and trying to discern what it actually meant. Did our FAY students make their targeted growth? Did this data truly measure teachers’ effort and their impact on students and learning?

In June I attended the AZ NBCT Network Convening and worked along side other colleagues who had also temporarily lost their way. We networked, shared our concerns and realized we faced the same challenges. We re-ignited each other. I tuned in and began to take note of AZ teacher leaders who blogged. I listened. I engaged in conversations. I reached out to other like-minded teacher leaders.

I started thinking about the current state of Arizona, realizing that if we don’t stand up and take back our profession, who will? We need to have teachers tell our stories, not politicians, not legislators. So my call to action for you – Take back our profession! Stand up and share your story, share our story.

Commit to reflecting on your practice through the lens of the National Board Professional Teaching Standards, which were created by teachers for teachers. It represents our profession’s mark of accomplished teaching. This process is about your teaching and students’ learning. Who are your students? What do you know about them? How do they learn? What do you do to help them find success? How do you make learning accessible to them? Don’t your kids deserve the best teacher? Don’t our kids deserve the best teachers?

National Board certification creates opportunities. A few weeks ago week myself, and four other colleagues met with other teachers from around the United States and the Department of Education sharing our story. Creating solutions. Working along side Secretary Duncan!

This past summer Ron Thorpe, president of NB passed away. Two years ago I sat in a room of teacher leaders where he set forth the challenge saying, “We need more NBCT’s in leadership roles and leading schools.” That day changed my professional career. That day I accepted his challenge.

Who has the courage to make this the year to push your practice, be vulnerable, be bold, and learn along side your students?

 

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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  • Sandy Merz

    This is a timely piece for me. When I first started in the teacher leadership movement, my teaching was pretty much under control and all the “newness” in my practice was in the leadership area. This year the pendulum is swinging back – I’m familiar enough with the ebb and flow of the leadership work that the tasks don’t seem so urgent (they’re still important of course!) But now I sense a new internal drive to, as you say, “Push my practice.” I like that phrase very much.

  • Danielle Brown

    Much like Sandy has stated this piece is exactly what I needed as I begin a new school year. I have start year 7 and have come to point where I am extremely confident in my classroom practice. As I take on my leadership roles, I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying to be bold. As I continue to be bold, I ask others to be bold alongside me to make an impact on our profession.

  • Angelia Ebner

    Thank you so much for doing this great work this summer. You renewed spirit is palpable and contagious! Your dedication to education is amazing and will leave a noticeable mark on our profession for years to come!