Standards for Excellent Teaching

May 26, 2007 at 11:42 am | Posted in best practices, education, elementary, standards, teachers | 1 Comment

I’m beginning my work to become a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) through the National Board for Professional Teaching. A National Board Certified Teacher is a teacher judged by peers to be an accomplished teacher. It is the highest level of recognition for a teacher. NBCTs are teachers of excellence at a national level.

The benefits are many and the journey is long.

But, already, I have learned something of crucial value to me as a teacher. I have learned that in the standards for teaching as defined by the National Board, curriculum is a very small part of teaching.

For an Early Childhood Generalist (an early elementary school teacher), the standards are:

  • Understanding Young Children
  • Equity, Fairness, and Diversity
  • Assessment
  • Promoting Child Development and Learning
  • Knowledge of Integrated Curriculum
  • Multiple Teaching Strategies for Meaningful Learning
  • Family and Community Partnerships
  • Professional Partnerships
  • Reflective Practice

As you can see, there is no “Knowledge of Curriculum” but there is “Knowledge of Integrated Curriculum.”

This is a powerful point to make because many, many, many teachers still INSIST that their primary job is to teach the curriculum or deliver the lesson, usually in discreet chunks of unrelated facts. That is in fact a very, very minor part of our job as teachers, particularly in the elementary setting.

Many teachers also are much put-upon by the idea that they have to be involved in touchy-feely things like “getting to know the kids” or “developing their self-esteem” or “parent partnerships” and feel that these are New Age-y things have no bearing on the real job of teaching.

As we can see from these national standards of teaching, teaching is very holistic and has much to do with EVERYTHING and content knowledge is just one of many parts needed for good teaching.

Keep that in mind when you become frustrated that your students aren’t “getting” the content. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back, re-evaluate, and approach from a new direction.

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