Why? I could go on and on about how my heavy investment in arts integration as a KidSmart Teacher-Leader, the successes of the debate team and chess club, the laughs I shared with the 1st and 6th graders during Mandarin Chinese lessons, or how my specific ELA students scored one of the highest "Basic or above" percentages on the iLEAP out of all open-enrollment schools in New Orleans (Also, this link), but in actuality, the most rewarding part of the year was the high(er) standards that motivated me to create, document, process, and reflect on the lessons I planned and executed with my students. These standards are those created by the National Board Professional Teaching Standards. I learned about National Board Certification from a teacher friend who attended SUNY Fredonia with me during my undergraduate/graduate work in education, and I felt up for the challenge. And oh, what a challenge it was!
In an article from The Advocate from January, 2013, Charles Lussier reports:
"Just 54 teachers in Louisiana achieved certification in 2012 from a well-regarded national teaching organization, a fifth as many teachers as when the program was at its peak in this state.Why is there a pattern of decline of NBC teachers in Louisiana? I would argue we need more NBC teachers than ever in a state that is consistently placed towards the bottom of the US's state education rankings. In a recent blog post from Geneviève DeBose on the NBPTS website, she writes about her desire to: "1) increase the number of NBCTs in high-need schools, and 2) train NBCTs to become instructional leaders in high-need schools." This post gave me extra motivation to complete my teaching portfolio - consisting of 4 entries assessing my work with students' reading/writing, whole-group discussion, small-group instruction, and documenting my accomplishments with parents and the community - and study hard for the rapid-fire computer-based assessment of my content knowledge and understanding of advanced teaching pedagogy. In hope of fulfilling Ms. DeBose's second goal, I will serve as a Teacher Coach during the next school year as to help my colleagues learn new strategies on how to bridge arts integration and the Common Core Standards.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced the results Monday. The totals are down from 102 in 2011 and 148 in 2010."
When I walked out of the testing center on May 29th, I felt so fulfilled. I worked incredibly hard with my students this year and was lucky to have the support of my colleagues and administration as I slowly but surely chipped away at this rigorous task. Thank you!
After my students completed their iLEAP test in April, I sent this tweet to @NBPTS in appreciation for everything their standards did for me:
Applying the teaching standards created by @NBPTS this year in my #ELA #nolaed classroom has been incredibly rewarding/beneficial. #proud
— 6thGrade&AllThatJazz (@philiprazem) April 25, 2014
I won't find out my scores for another few months, but I hope my portfolio accurately reflects how much I learned with my students this past school year. Teachers always want to get better at their craft, and NBPTS gave me one of the best professional development opportunities imaginable. Sharing the same goal as Ms. DeBose, I hope my process inspires other teachers in Louisiana, especially in New Orleans, to gear up, have a good stretch, and begin the climb to the top of the teaching mountain.