Mind-meld. That’s the only possible description that can fully describe my lateral experiences of National Board Certification and Teach for America. As the Vulcan dictionary describes a mind-meld, it is “a technique for sharing thoughts, experiences, memories, and knowledge with another individual, essentially a limited form of telepathy.” Throughout the past few weeks of working with Teach for America, I’ve had several surreal moments in which I feel I am living in two worlds at one time. But I’m curious why they have to be two worlds. This is my rationale.
Both National Board Certification and Teach for America stress the value of the Knowledge of Students. Without this extensive knowledge of the students’ emotional, physical, psychological, and academic backgrounds, teachers will not have the full knowledge of how to drive their students to grow as learners. Both organizations are instrumental in equipping teachers with tools, standards, and prompts to thoroughly discern their students’ strengths and areas of growth.
To fully join the ranks of National Board Certification or Teach for America, all the teachers involved are encouraged to actively exhibit leadership. Leadership can come in all forms, and both organizations encourage teachers to focus on learning opportunities and collaboration. Both organizations believe in making a difference in children’s lives through the partnership of the communities and parents.
Teach, Assess, Reflect, Readjust, and Reteach! And Repeat!! Those of you who have gone through the National Board Certification journey remember this cycle!! Well, having presented sessions and coached TFA corps members for the past few weeks, I can say that they are quite familiar with the same cycle of professional self-development. Openly requesting feedback, revising lesson plans, and rehearsing lesson execution is just part of the TFA teacher’s learning curve. It is inspiring to observe the new teachers’ thirst for knowledge and advice.
I find it interesting that these two organizations, National Board Certification and Teach for America, with almost identical core values are not working hand-in-hand. I know as a veteran teacher that the concern is sustainability. But while having my mind-meld over these common denominators, I could see an inspiring change in the field of education if teamwork could exist between all the key players who are passionately invested in reform.