Work Backwards

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I’ve attended several workshops for the National Board Certification Program through AZ K12. They have an excellent program. You can take one year to get certified, or two, or three.

NBCT leaves deadlines largely up to the teachers. But because there is no formal structure in terms of time, I was feeling uncertain. I started the work, but felt a bit overwhelmed. And then I realized I had to create my own timeline.

I know I want to complete it in one year.

I know what needs to be done.

Work backwards! In order to be prepared for the exam in May, I need to complete three components in five months. But I also want to leave myself time to get my work reviewed by others and make changes if necessary.

So, I am giving myself a little over one month for each component.

You’d think that giving myself this structure with deadlines would cause more stress. Au contraire!  I’m feeling MUCH better knowing I have five weeks to complete my first component. This enables me to measure my progress week to week. This will increase my chances of success.

Sometimes, I forget to work backwards, but it’s so helpful.

Is there a goal you have – personal or professional – where backwards planning might prove helpful?

Good Company

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Photo from Everson Mayer

I’m in a room of about 100 teachers from all over Arizona. I feel blessed to be here. We’re all pursuing National Board Certification. Sure, we get a (small) financial award, but the biggest reason that we’ve shown up is that each of us will deepen our teaching practice and bring more to each of our 30 – 180 students each day.

The great majority of teachers are exceptional people.

 

And then there are these bigots (who ought to lose their jobs):

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13% of their student body is Latin-American. Idaho needs to do better for the children.

 

 

Teaching

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After six weeks of intense coursework, I have completed my pre-candidacy for National Board Certification. Now, the real work begins!

 

Sunday Suggestion

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This week’s suggestion is an overall recommendation to “go for it.” Stretch yourself. Take a risk. Invest money and time in yourself to be better.

I’ve been teaching for over 11 years and the subject of pursuing “National Board Certification” has come up multiple times. Each time, I dismissed it immediately, based on what I had heard as simply “extra work” for an empty title. But the people who have been saying that are people who did not pursue the NBCT. 

Recently, a colleague (who IS certified) spoke highly of the program. I attended two meetings this week and I’m now completely ALL IN. I’m going for it. I don’t even care about the title or the actual certification. It’s the process….the four modules will require me to create, re-create, and reflect on my teaching process with students and their parents. I have discovered a renewed sense of respect of the profession. Teachers create the certification process for NBCT. How refreshing: Teachers having control of an education program.

Yes, it it will require a huge time commitment. But it will be worth every minute to gain a heightened awareness of my teaching process: be the best teacher I’ve ever been, be able to mentor others, gain confidence and forge new friendships on district, state and national levels!

If there is something you’ve been considering, but worry about the time or expense, ask yourself, “What is the cost if I don’t do it?”

 

Some trivia: Did you know that although Arizona is often in the bottom 3 in terms of investment toward public schools, we rank anywhere from 12th to 16th in number of National Board Certified teachers in the nation? Teachers in AZ are working hard in their profession – despite the bum rap – for our students.

 

Utopia

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Watercolor, The Giver pages, ink
“You are way off of baseline.”
from Blade Runner

About this piece:

I watched the scene regarding baselines from “Blade Runner” the other day. I started thinking about society and laws and citizenship and what true self-determination might be.  What is patriotism? Citizenship? What are our obligations and how does the individual contribute to the mass?

Projects

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Just a quick doodle and post today. I’m interviewing two people tonight for my research project on “First to Graduate from High School and/or College.” It’s my hope to compile a series of inspiring stories for graduate hopefuls and get those rates of retention up!

On the dog front, Olive is on Day Four at our house and is doing well, although she and Opal can argue when they don’t see eye to eye. Mostly though, they are pretty chill:

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True Productivity

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Stay curious. Ask yourself, “What would happen if I dipped the whole side of the brush, for example…”

Flora Bowley, artist

While experimenting with my own brushes and hearing her words, I thought of how critical it is to stay curious in life. It’s so easy (and debilitating) to allow things and people to get “old” on you.

We complain that we’re bored, but maybe WE have become boring.

Stay curious.

Ask yourself, “What if…” (and act on that question!) at least once a day.