Professional Learning

Professional Learning
Micro-Credentials – Personalized Learning for Teachers
June 7, 2018
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Micro-Credentials – Personalized Learning for Teachers

Jessica Childers
@JDouttChilders

According to the Center for Teaching Quality, 84% of teachers report that they have participated in inservice days but only 20% are satisfied with their professional development. I believe we can do better than this. In the past few years, personalizing learning for students has become a focus for many educators. iNACOL defines PL as “tailoring learning for each student’s strengths, needs and interests...to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery..." We should apply these same ideas for professional learning for teachers as well. Through micro-credentials, I have found a way to personalize my learning in a way that directly influences student learning in my classroom.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
Why I Pursued National Board Certification
May 28, 2018
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Why I Pursued National Board Certification

Erin Glenn
@erin_glenn_edu

If someone peeked in my classroom years ago, they would have seen students seated in desks, aligned in straight rows attentively completing their work. This would have likely followed a typical lesson that required they take notes, as I lectured, and required they read a passage and answer corresponding questions. My students were quiet, well behaved and accustomed to this routine. Though this may have been perceived as effective classroom management, I knew hadn’t met the mark. I’d often implement new strategies I’d learned in professional development but continuously sought to discover how I could grow as an educator and become more effective for my students. In my search, I discovered National Board Certification, a process that forever changed my traditional routines and methods of practice.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
Summers Off?
April 29, 2018
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Summers Off?

Al Feldblum
@afeldblum

It took me a few years to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I found that I had a passion for coaching football. High school football. What better way to live my passion than be a high school teacher. I made the decision to get an undergrad degree in education and become a teacher.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
The Power of a Mentor
March 24, 2018
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The Power of a Mentor

Dr. Beth Gotcher
@beth_gotcher

Being a new teacher is an exciting and invigorating time yet can also be filled with stress and uncertainty. Beginning teachers enter their first classroom bubbling with hopes and ideas for their students. However, new teachers are also filled with a variety of unanswered questions. How do I make copies? What do I do if I’m sick? What instructional resources am I required to use? Where do I go for a fire drill? These are just a few of the countless questions that come up throughout a teacher’s first year which are not answered in a college classroom.
Leadership Professional Learning
My Leadership Story
January 28, 2018
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My Leadership Story

Melissa Collins
@CollinsNBCT

I am Dr. Melissa Collins, and I am a nationally known teacher leader. I have received National Board Certification, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the Horace Mann Teacher Excellence Award, West Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and was recognized as a 2018 Global Teacher Prize Finalist to name a few. I have conducted leadership and instructional workshops to inspire teacher leaders. These accomplishments have helped me to strive as a leader in and outside the classroom.  Even though I am a successful educator, I overcame many obstacles to get where I am today.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
What I Didn’t Learn in My Teacher Preparation Program
January 17, 2018
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What I Didn’t Learn in My Teacher Preparation Program

Rachel Turner
@ChattanoogaChat

Now in my eighth year as a teacher, I often chuckle when I reflect on how far I have come in my teaching career.  Just a few short years ago, I was a clueless student teacher eager to change the life of every student I met. I did not know much, but I knew that I did not want to be like the Economics teacher (Ben Stein) in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or the teacher in Peanuts. I envisioned being a mix between John Keating (Robin Williams) in Dead Poet’s Society and Louanne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) in Dangerous Minds. Instead, I entered the classroom more like a cross between John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in Kindergarten Cop and Sherman Clump (Eddie Murphy) in The Nutty Professor.  Luckily, I have thick skin and stuck with the most rewarding career one can have.  However, I often think back and wonder why so many aspects of a teacher’s career go unmentioned in our preparation programs.
Professional Learning
Teachers: Resolve to Take Care of Yourself
January 4, 2018
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Teachers: Resolve to Take Care of Yourself

Tanya Hill
@TeachLikeALady

It’s that time of year again when everyone begins to make resolutions for the New Year. Many resolve to lose weight, exercise, eat better, save money, and even find love. In this fast paced society of getting things done quickly, some fail to achieve these goals. Teachers tend to make resolutions that deal with their effectiveness in lesson planning and instructional delivery. What is missing from these resolutions is the most important part of this equation: The teacher!
In the Classroom Professional Learning
Teaching as a Team
January 1, 2018
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Teaching as a Team

Ashley Corey
@ms_corey8

In teaching there are days when we feel incredibly confident in the work that we are doing and days when we simply do not. No matter the issue, nine out of ten times the solution is to seek help from my colleagues. Having endless tasks in the classroom can sometimes prevent us from reaching out to each other even on an informal basis. I had not been so keenly aware of this necessity until I recently began teaching on a model that reflected the need for constant collaboration. Two words have changed my entire perspective on collaboration among teachers: team teaching.
Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Get Caught in the “Web” of Teacher Leadership
August 29, 2017
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Get Caught in the “Web” of Teacher Leadership

Maureen Henderson
@MaureenHender18

Imagine a spider spinning a web.  It begins with individual fibers, then works to strengthen them, carefully finishing with their connection.   Across the state of Tennessee there are many strands of teacher leadership being spun.  Amazing initiatives and programs have been put in place to reinforce them.  What does it look like when these pieces are woven together to create a strong, powerful design?
Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Once a Fellow, Always a Fellow
June 22, 2017
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Once a Fellow, Always a Fellow

Diarese George
@DiareseGeorge

What’s my next move? What are my options? Are there opportunities for growth beyond the classroom? In the classroom? This time last year, these were questions that I had asked myself. At the time, I had just completed my fourth academic year of teaching and wondered what my professional trajectory looked like in the coming years. I transitioned into education after working in business for six years after college. In business, there was always an understanding that if you came into an entry-level role, depending on the company, you should be preparing for upward mobility within 2-3 years. Having surpassed that timeframe in the classroom, I was anxious to see what my next steps in the profession would be. That’s when I came across teacher education fellowship opportunities after reading Commissioner McQueen’s monthly Educator Update. (See past updates and sign up to receive them here.)

I decided to apply to Hope Street Group’s State Teacher Fellowship, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education’s Tennessee Educator Fellowship, and Education Pioneers Summer Fellowship. I was surprised to be accepted to each of them! At the conclusion of this year, I have completed each fellowship. Reflecting on them, I see they each offered unique experiences that have equipped me to be a better educator.

My Education Pioneers Fellowship placed me at the Tennessee Department of Education in the Office of Licensure and Educator Preparation. Last summer I worked on a project that explored the opportunities and challenges of school districts collaborating with education preparation programs to create partnerships. Working at this level helped me to see education from a broader lens, especially regarding an initiative like that. That experience helped me to reframe my thought process and view situations from different perspectives. It also gave me access to executive directors across various departments, professional development with the Commissioner, and a chance to view the Department’s five Education Priorities at work in real time.

I participated in both the Hope Street Group and SCORE Fellowships at the same time during the 2016-2017 academic year. The Hope Street Group Fellowship connected me with other teachers and local and national policymakers to give feedback on critical education policy issues, while serving as a spokesperson for positive change in the profession. I also was able to provide feedback to the Department of Education regarding professional development, chronic absenteeism, and RTI2. Additionally, Fellows convened throughout the year to receive advocacy training to aid in our roles. Three of the most helpful things that I learned are how to utilize Twitter for professional development, how to participate in and host Twitter chats, and how to conduct a meaningful focus group.

The SCORE Fellowship selects teacher leaders from across the state to train them to advocate and elevate their voices to support and advance student-focused education policy. SCORE provided the historical context of education policy in Tennessee, including where the state started and how it became the fastest improving in the country. This Fellowship connected me with key individuals and policymakers who played a role in the state’s improvement. It also equipped and empowered me to lead my own advocacy project, which centered on supporting educators of color in Tennessee. SCORE convened Fellows four times throughout the year to provide both advocacy training to support our projects and opportunities to meet key stakeholders, including Commissioner McQueen, executive directors from national education reform organizations, state legislators, and gubernatorial candidates.

My participation in each one of these fellowships has left me feeling enlightened, equipped, and energized to continue to engage in the policy work that I have begun. As my fellowships concluded, I remind myself that the work is just starting. We need more educators involved in education policy and engaging policymakers. When highly effective educators inform and shape education policies based on their practical knowledge and experience of excellent teaching and learning, the results are better for students. I highly recommend any of these fellowships to any educator who is looking to advocate on behalf of students and make an impact in the policy space. Each one of these fellowships proclaim once a Fellow, always a Fellow. For that, I will forever be connected to these organizations, their ongoing work, and the future Fellows who participate in them.

Diarese has taught Business courses at Clarksville High School for the past three years. In that time, he has served as a lead instructor for the school’s career Academy, member of the Instructional Leadership Team and an Academy lead in cross­-curricular collaboration for project­-based learning. He is a graduate of his district’s Leadership Development course, and a district­-wide Professional Development facilitator for Microsoft Excel training. Diarese holds a BBA in Marketing and Management and M.A. in Corporation Communications from Austin Peay State University, MBA from University of Phoenix and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. He also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging his colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.