On January 24th of last year, I wrote a blog in which I wondered when teacher-leaders like me might know when it’s time to leave the classroom. I even used the word “sacriligious” when contemplating the idea…
And then, almost exactly one year later, I found out that I was chosen for a position that will, indeed, take me out of the classroom. This position isn’t an administrative or coaching position. It isn’t even one of the new layers of jobs associated with the latest teacher evaluation trends. It’s bigger.
How you ask?
It revolves around National Board certification. In the teaching community, the 1-3-year National Board certification process is the gold standard of our profession. It’s rigorous, it’s rewarding, it’s spiritual – it’s a pretty big deal. Oh – and when you receive news of your certification, you feel like you’ve won American Idol. No joke.
I received my National Board certification in 2008 and, since then, have started a National Board support program in my (very urban) school district. I did this because I truly believe that it’s the most quality, job-embedded professional development opportunity that a teacher can participate in – and is one of the only experiences that can reach the levels of cultural shift that many of our schools need. (Just watch the Mitchell 20 for proof). In fact, the National Board process is one of the only processes that shows educators how to be truly reflective, and is the only process that could have coaxed me to take a job outside of the classroom.
The ins-and-outs of my new job duties as a National Board Project Director for the Arizona K-12 Center are important (perhaps I’ll regale you with them later) – but not as immediately important as the reflection of my impact on students for the past 8 years. As I’ve finally submitted my written resignation, and as I’ve finally told students that I won’t be returning to campus next year, a collective reflection of my classroom-journey in room 741 has begun.
Because teaching is always personal and never “business,” so much of who I am as a person is entwined with my identity as a classroom teacher. As I move through the last 25 days of this identity, I’m hoping to find ways to take pieces of it with me into my new identity as a teacher of adult learners – and that it will be as rich and as life-changing as my body of work as a high school English teacher has been.
Perhaps I’ll blog my thoughts along the way…