February is always a hard month for teachers in Arizona. We have the threat of standardized assessments looming ahead of us, school staffing for next year, final evaluations, and the possibility of RIF. The tension is palpable on campuses and teachers are just so weary…… But during the evening of Saturday, February 9th, the Arizona K12 Center reminded me of my number one priority- being the best teacher in order to inspire my students to love learning. I was reminded of this valuable insight during the 4th Annual Celebration of Accomplished Teaching, honoring the National Board Certified Teachers and Master Teachers. This celebration was a catalyst for all new NBCTs to not settle with this chapter in our journey but to go find a new challenge in education and passionately pursue it.
We have less than four months until this school year is over, can you believe it?! Time is flying by!! For those of us NBCT’s who have successfully completed our National Board Certification candidacy, we are taking a sigh of relief, not worrying over typing up entries, videotaping almost every lesson in the classroom, or studying for the assessment center. Although we can relax this year, NBCT’s need to remember that complacency can be the root of sloppy teaching. We still need to grow and challenge ourselves as professional educators!
Here are some ideas to keep you growing as an educator:
- Start a Book Club at your school! Find a good pedagogical book that you and your teammates would enjoy reading to help in a specific area in teaching. It doesn’t need to be an organized PLC or PD, just have a good old-fashioned group of people who love to read, talk, and make goals. (Snacks are also a good idea.)
- Team- Teach witha Buddy Classroom. So many of our standards are repeated throughout grade levels. Find a buddy teacher from another grade level who would like to join classes together to team-teach a specific content area. The older children can help the younger children, and all students are learning through the collaborative environment. Working with another teacher from a different grade level gives you a different perspective of education and creates a new professional partner to inspire creativity and collaboration.
- Save a Student!! By this time of the year, you may have noticed a student who is always struggling with social skills, emotions, physical health, and/or academics. Make a point to uplift that child once a day. Find unique opportunities to make him/her feel special and cared for. After a week of making an effort to encourage and motivate this one special student, you will notice a difference in yourself!
- Cookie Visits with Parents. Who can ever say no to free cookies? Make a point to go visit parents of students with a plate of cookies!! This visit should be a positive means of communication about how the specific student is achieving academically. These home visits will be the best way to keep close relationships with parents for a long time.
Now it’s your turn. How do you motivate yourself to improve as an educator?