This year, I became the Instructional Partner that services between two schools, the largest elementary and middle schools within my system. No longer do I only serve the twenty students within the walls of my classroom. I now serve more than 1,400 students and 75 classroom teachers. I am faced everyday with new challenges and decisions that require focus on the instruction of all students within our schools. Can I make a difference?
On a broader note, I have the honor to be the 2nd Vice President of the Alabama National Board Certified Teachers Network Board of Directors. This role has forced me to be an advocate, a promoter, and a face for all teachers throughout our state. Can I make a difference?
Recently, our Alabama NBCT Network held our 2nd Annual ALNBCT Hill Day. The purpose of our day was not to spread a political agenda but to share how a teacher that holds National Board Certification affects students in our schools. We visited members of our state legislator. Some of the meetings included legislators that we had spoken to last year. Other meetings were with new faces. We were even bold enough to stop legislators in the hallways, wait outside of lunch areas, and drop into their offices all for a chance to speak with members of our state congress. Did we make a difference?
Several of the legislators that we spoke with told us that our meetings last year caused them to research National Board Teacher Certification. They visited the schools within their district and spent time with the NBCTs in their schools to observe their teaching first-hand. Another group of state representatives, democrats and republicans, held an impromptu roundtable discussion. It quickly became a meeting of how to get large groups of teachers and even whole schools involved in the certification process. Several are exploring new ways to provide the financial means for teachers to achieve National Board Certification and reward those who are already certified. It is exciting to see these changes take place.
As we all know within our classrooms, we can make a difference. The difference may be small. They may take a long time to come into fruition. But, a difference will happen. Our ALNBCT Hill Day allowed us to plant seeds with the members of our state congress. Although there are 135 members in our state congress that deal with thousands of issues each legislative session, I believe that promoting what is best for Alabama’s students made a difference.
Please take time to share stories with your local legislators of the successes that take place in your classrooms and schools. Invite them to spend time with you, so they can personally see what our students are achieving. Do not be shy. You can make a difference!