Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What I have learned from the NBPTS 2011 Conference and the SOS March

I wrote this reflection to the Teacher Leaders Network forum just a few minutes before I drove to the library to meet up with Senora Richardson, my former Spanish teacher at the Catholic University, to help her start a class blog for her students. I want to share this reflection to my blog readers too...

I became a National Board Certified Teacher in November 2009 so it was my first time to attend the NBPTS 2011 Conference. It was great to see hundreds of advocates of teaching excellence who are equally excited about educating our eager students, who are knowledgeable about innovative teaching strategies, and who also speak up against edreform policies that are harmful to our teachers & students.

Tuesday's Hill Day was my first time too, thanks for teaming me up with a great NBCT who works at NEA Teacher Quality, Jennifer Locke, NBCT. She was very caring in coaching me with what to do and what to expect during our visits to our four Congressional Representatives in Maryland and Washington DC. She made me feel relaxed and she empowered me to speak up (hope I did not talk too much!). The Hill Day was overall a positive experience for me, the staff who met with us seemed all very interested and asked several questions that we willingly responded to. I have learned from this experience that the Congress people are not the only people who can influence policy, we need to use our teacher voice.

Friday NBPTS 2011 Conference, I shared the same sentiments with Linda Darling Hammond, NBCT that we need to prepare our students to be globally competitive in the 21st century economy; and Diane Ravitch about harmful education policies like unfair use of standardized tests to evaluate teachers, poverty as a factor for school failure, need for responsible parenting, lack of resources for students which do not only set teachers up to fail but moreso our students. It was great to see hundreds of NBCTs convening to collaborate and learn from each other about innovative instructional practices, education policies, teacher leadership, and education reform. I was able to exchange contact numbers, email addies, Twitter handle, and blog URL with a few NBCTs across the country and with a couple of visitors from Quebec. It was priceless to be able to have truly engaging conversations centered around how to better support our 21st century learners so they can be globally competitive. Thank you Nancy Flanagan, Patrick Ledesma, Anthony Cody, David Cohen (and other NBCTs who presented on education policies) for the knowledge imparted...it was empowering, it was truly amazing! And I felt wonderful to be with hundreds of educators across the nation who have the same burning passion for educating our students to maximize their potentials. I am not alone anymore!

I missed the Saturday sessions of the NBPTS 2011 Conference so I can be at the White House ellipse as early as 10am. My husband and my two children were with me during the SOS March standing up with our International teachers, friends at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA-DC) and thousands others from across the country to save our schools! Saw Nancy F., Anthony C., and a number of our teacher leaders I met at the NBPTS 2011 Conference, this event was very heart warming for me! Some didn't believe me when I told them that Matt Damon was coming and his mom was an educator until they saw him there and heard him speak about his mother. As Nancy Tweeted: "democracy starts early in life!"...we should teach our kids civics lessons and how our choices affect our everyday living. It is important to let our kids understand that we can and must stand and let our voices be heard. My former student was supposed to celebrate her 16th birthday with her friends but chose to be with us with her sister and her mom at the SOS March. They know how a great teacher positively impacted their life until now, they were there to support our great educators from far and wide! 

Thank you! I have learned from NBPTS 2011 Conference and the SOS March that I am so inspired and encouraged to not just speak up but take action. We have jump started a DC NBCT Network when I was in the WTU Executive Board (2007-2010) and will continue the work that we already started with other NBCTs in Washington DC. We have an upcoming post SOS March meeting too with teachers in the DC Area who attended the March.

I am proud to belong to the teacher leaders of this nation. Thanks for the knowledge imparted, the encouragement, the empowerment from our NBCT teacher leaders...I will forever look back to the week of July 26-July 30 with a smile! Sorry for this long post, I couldn't contain the feeling :)

Keep the fire burning!

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