Central Wilkes Middle School
"An essential component of growth in any area, personal or professional, is to first spend an abundant amount of time reflecting on your current situation; to determine areas in which you would consider yourself an expert and to humbly recognize the areas in which you need to seek help to improve. Although I think all educators are reflective by nature as we do this with our lessons daily—What went well? What didn’t go so well? Did the students grasp the concept or master the objective the lesson was intended to address? Did the students grasp the relevance of the purpose of the lesson?--the National Boards process was the catalyst behind a much deeper and more thorough reflection of my practice. The process stimulated true collaboration. I’m not talking about surface-level collaboration in which everyone on a team sits in common planning and maps out what they are teaching and when. I’m talking about true give-and-take where colleagues are honest enough to be vulnerable with one another and admit they need help; where the concern for the students and things that should be done on their behalf outweigh pride and competition. When I admitted that I was at a loss, talented colleagues observed, critiqued, and coached my instructional delivery of social studies concepts for weeks. With their help, planning more focused lessons and activities increased not only student engagement but also my own enthusiasm for social studies. One of my best friends and most talented colleagues even went so far as to come to my home to coach me through my final submission, making suggestions as I edited my video and write-up of the lesson I had recorded. I passed my National Boards on my third and final attempt. Even if I had not passed, the invaluable improvements I credit to improved reflection and collaboration will have far-reaching positive effects on not only the students I had in my classroom afterward, but also the students and teachers I am blessed to work with every day as an administrator."