In my first entry, I wrote about my choice to work at Brighton was based on my belief that we need to recruit our strongest teachers to our most needy schools. I still believe this, but realistically I realize we need to consider other options. I now see the need as some would say “ to grow our own”. The reality of recruiting teachers to schools labeled failure is very difficult. I know we have a need for highly accomplished, veteran teachers. However as one teacher responded to my previous entry on recruitment, established teachers do not easily pull up stakes and change schools.
In the last few weeks, I have watched our faculty come together for our Southern Accreditation Review. Although this process is tedious, it has been a good time for our teachers to come together for a common cause. I have seen real teacher leadership evolve. As I have watched this take place, I have realized this group of educators could really make this transformation happen. I know it will take continuing the practices we have implemented this year and adding more next year. In other words, the hard work will be long-lasting. However, I believe most of these teachers because of their investment in the school have the desire to do whatever it takes. There are several teachers in the school who have expressed to me that they were as we say in the South, “called to come to Brighton”. I share this calling.
I am very pleased about one program we are going to pilot next year. The first National Board Certified Teacher in our school system has agreed to pilot a National Board Pre-Candidacy Program she created. Four young teachers in my school have already committed to this program. Going through the NBPTS process was truly a turning point in my teaching practice. This process of analyzing and reflecting upon my work as a teacher and understanding the impact my work had on student learning enabled me to become the professional educator I so aspired to be. The NBPTS core propositions have become embedded in my own philosophy of education. The National Board set new standards for me that challenge me every day in my work. I know what this can mean to the young teachers in my school to become NBCT. Hopefully by providing a meaningful pre-candidacy experience, they will decide to complete the entire process. This will help grow teacher leaders in my school.
Last week, our school was visited by twelve administrators from another school system. They heard of our success with one of our new reading programs and wanted to see this first-hand. I was so proud to show off our teachers. The teachers have worked so hard to learn this new program and it was so affirming for their efforts to be recognized. In one class, the visiting group gave a round of applause for an outstanding lesson and absolutely amazing reading responses by six-year old children. What wonderful way for our teachers to be acknowledged!
Maybe, we will recruit some very strong, veteran teachers for our few openings. Realistically, we may not, but I am now convinced of the possibility of growing our own to lead our school.
I continue to be challenged and encouraged by your comments. Please continue to respond. I would love to hear from National Board Teachers about the possibility of growing our own.
The opinions expressed in Teacher of the Year are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.