One of the pivotal elements about National Board certification is its Professional Teaching Standards. As programs come and wane, the standards provide a balanced lens through which to examine programs. As a teacher who works in under served communities this is especially critical as it is important that we get education right. The education established at such schools must first primarily nourish the student as a human being and serve as a pathway to opportunity. The five core propositions time and again provide a view with which to evaluate what my school should be about.
The other pivotal element from my certification is that of opening up one's practice. Since I have been an Instructional Reform Facilitator (IRF), making observations or watching videos of teaching practice have been central. The reasons for this are many. It is good for the teacher to examine those elements in her/his teaching that are working and those that he/she is unaware of. It is a catalyst for change and improvement to examine how students respond to one's teaching. It sheds light how we treat our students especially in underserved communities. On the other hand, I have learned so much from watching other teachers in action. It is like being a student teacher again. I notice the protocols established, the voice inflection, the planning, the timing, the engagement of students, etc. The observer learns as much as the observed. Another aspect about opening up one's practice is the democratic way of improving teacher quality. I am not the sole "expert" on inquiry science, interactive editing or guided reading. The community of teachers each has their expertise and individual teachers are enriched by the whole of their comments.