Through a Different Lens

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I am a board certified teacher. I achieved in 2004 as a kindergarten teacher. I renewed my certificate four years ago as a principal and borrowed a second grade class. National board certification has always been important to me and to my identity as an educator. I have always looked for ways to share this experience with teachers, while being mindful not to be overbearing. What I am sharing with you was unimaginable 12 years ago when I first embarked on my journey of accomplished teaching. It takes my breath away thinking about the impact our school can have on the future of education. So, while the climate of education may not be ideal or even close to a model of where we want to be; here in lies a pocket of hope.

This year is my fifth year as a principal and I have this extraordinary opportunity to connect with my teachers in way that has not been possible before. Right now, we have two teachers who are in their third year of the national board certification process, four more who have already committed to the process beginning this year and another 11 teachers who are potential candidates upon completion of a pre-candidacy class, in addition another two teachers who we will call our “red shirt candidates” as they have not met the three year teaching requirement to declare candidacy, are also in the game. That said 19 teachers on our campus are involved in the board certification process to some extent. I could never have imagined this ripple of accomplished teaching engulfing our campus as it has, true story. But the reality is, it has and the energy and excitement for teaching and learning is very real. But that is not even the most exciting part.

I am fortunate enough to facilitate the online pre-candidacy course supporting 12 of our teachers. I have this unique opportunity to remove myself as an administrator and ask questions as a peer and as a Board Certified teacher. Through the course teachers are invited to navigate through their NB standards and make connections to their practice. The unintended, but amazing part is, I get to have one-on-one conversations in a safe virtual space with these teachers about their students and their teaching. There are the obvious connections I make between their writing and reflection and what I see on a daily basis, and then there is a vulnerable and raw side of their practice. They are inviting me into their thinking to ask questions and validate who they are as teachers and educators. They share insights about the NB standards, their philosophy of education and teaching. I get to be part of the moment when they realize they are already accomplished teachers and they can do this!

 

Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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