Dear Teachers That Walk the Talk

Dear Teacher,

If you walk with us, we walk together, no matter the destination.

I wanted to share a few thoughts on what teaching is to me in the form of a love note. Not surprisingly, these beliefs lay across the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ Five Core Propositions like a warm, fuzzy blanket. As I’ve been renewing my certification this spring, I’ve been reflecting on how enacting these propositions, on a daily basis in my practice, is both a challenge and a calling for me.


Proposition 1: Teachers are committed to students and their learning.

#TeachingIs Loving a child that needs to be loved. Even if he has done nothing to earn your trust.

#TeachingIs Asking a parent about a student’s sister who is sick, even if it doesn’t help a test score.

#TeachingIs Caring what your students think, but not necessarily doing what they want.

Proposition 2: Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.

#TeachingIs Deciding when and where is the best time to tell a parent about a developmental milestone or a struggle.

#TeachingIs Telling a parent “No. Your three year old can’t read independently, but they will soon, with our help.”

#TeachingIs Knowing the difference between a child asking, “What’s that word?” and “What does that word mean?”

Proposition 3: Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.

#TeachingIs Seeing a gap in a student’s understanding when they can’t add numbers above 11 but they can tell their times tables to 7–and then spanning that gap with hands-on experience.

#TeachingIs Knowing when a child could tell you more about their life if they just had sophisticated language–and then teaching them.

Proposition 4: Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.

#TeachingIs Knowing that the strongest skyscrapers have the most flexible structures and applying that to classroom management.

#TeachingIs Knowing how your students will do on a test before they take it.

#TeachingIs Never doing the same lesson plan exactly the same way.

#TeachingIs Changing how you are teaching when its’ not working, even if it means starting all over.

Proposition 5: Teachers are members of learning communities.

#TeachingIs Speed-walking in a circle around the playground as you problem-solve with a colleague about how to include more writing in her daily preschool routine.

#TeachingIs Talking about teaching to family in friends in a way that honors its complexity and value.

#TeachingIs Being a member of the Center for Teaching Quality Collaboratory and knowing your voice is valued.

Add your voice to the #TeachingIs campaign on Twitter.

(Image: last month’s Preschool Project, a marble run, to teach science langauge.)