This is very interesting.  I am not sure I totally agree on a "bar exam" for teachers but there is one thing for sure that I do know, educators are never completely proficient in their field.  Take for example doctors and lawyers, they are always referred to as "practicing medicine" or "practicing law".  Why can't teacher ever view themselves as "practicing educators".  In my 10 years of teaching the field has changed drastically.  When I entered the classroom there were computers in schools but mostly in the form of computer labs and a teacher computers for use in their room.  Now we are heading into 1:1 schools with iPad and laptops.  I never thought it would come down to that.

As the times change, we need to as well.  If you put a doctor from a hundred years ago into an operating room they would be totally lost.  Place a teacher from a hundred years ago in todays classrooms and they wouldn't skip a beat.  Nobody would want a doctor using outdated methods to cut on our bodies but why is it ok to have teachers using outdated disengaging methods on our children.  Kids don't need to memorize tons of information, they need to know how to apply the information.  Teachers are aware of this, but administrators are the ones that are keeping most schools behind.  For the administrator that has been out of the classroom for more than five years, don't ever tell a teacher that what they are doing is incorrect. They may not be doing a great job at engaging students in the curriculum, but your words don't mean anything since you are not in the battlefield.  Teach classes on top of leading the school.  Be in the battlefield like the rest of us.  When you say to me that you do not know the kids as well as the teachers, that is a problem.  You are suppose to lead the school and should know the kids just as much as the teachers.  If you say "we are in this together", be in it with us together.

Effort to create "bar exam" for teachers moves forward - Related Stories - Accomplished Teacher� by SmartBrief: Effort to create "bar exam" for teachers moves forward
The recent proposal by the American Federation of Teachers that teachers would have to take a test similar to the bar exam that lawyers take is advancing. Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, said that within 90 days, he will move to create a commission to work on a list of standards that beginning teachers should know. "It's an opportunity for the profession to step back and say these are our expectations based on what the profession sees as important to have when you step foot in the classroom on the first day," Thorpe said.

Here I am going to criticize as constructively as I can two perspectives of education, teachers, and parents.  I have linked to both recent articles that both made me get a slice of passion as this summer is ending and I am starting to head into daily reflection mode.

First of all, let me get this out on the table right now, schools cannot be successful for students if teachers and parents cannot work together.  End of story!

Who knows how best a child learns, teachers or their parents?  Some here would say teachers and some would fight till their death saying, parents.  I say both.  We all know that there are parents out there that really do not show too much care about their children but those are not the parents I am talking about.  I am talking about the parents that are engaged in their child's education.  A parent will always and should always advocate for their child and no teacher/administrator should ever try to drive a wedge between that relationship and for those of you that do, shame on you.  Teachers and parents should be fighting together for child's best interest, that interest is learning and being prepared to enter the world that is ever changing.  We are fighting against the people that could make each of jobs so much easier.  Neither side is the enemy, the enemy is the political system that is changed by suits who have no children and have never been teachers and feel that the only way to assess whether a student has learned is through a test.  

Both articles below are great and to some extent, I agree with both.  Yes, parents, you should always back your child, but please understand a teacher does not have one classroom of 30 students, we have 30 classrooms of one student and it is a very difficult job.  Yes, there are some bad seeds that have ruined it for lots of us, but that is not the case of everyone.  Please talk with us.  I rarely get parents that come to me to talk to me about something that concerns them.  They usually run to the principal and complain and then the principal comes to me.  Out of all of the concerns that have been brought to me from my supervisor, do you know how many I have addressed?  Zero!  That is right.  Parents if you do not have the guts to have a difficult conversation with your child's teacher then you must not really care about the situation enough to change it.  Have the guts to come talk to me and find out the real reason I do what I do.  Your children are worth it for you to have the guts to talk with their teachers and that is really all that teachers want.  Some do not want to have any parent communication but don't realize how much easier their jobs would be if they had parents on their side.

recently was looking through some resumes that I found online of people who were selected to be interviewed in a very extensive search for a superintendent.  For confidentiality reasons, I am not going to post those resumes or link them nor mention the school district that was doing the search.  There was just something that leaped off the page to me so I wanted to share and get some feedback.

I looked at five resumes of very distinguished people.  They have had long careers of working with public schools at the district level as well as some being leaders from the private sector.  The thing that jumped off the page to me is that of the five resumes only one of them had experience working as a principal, vice-principal, and classroom teacher.  Everyone else came from the private sector to the district level and then to area superintendents and director of programs, not having led a single school. Does anyone else find this disturbing?  Maybe it is just me but I feel that if someone is going to lead a massive amount of schools and make critical decisions that will affect the lives of children, they have better spent a great deal of time in the "trenches" of the school and they know what the public school anatomy is like.  I sure do not want the head of surgery at a hospital being a person that knows nothing about the human body or its anatomy.

So who got the job in the end?  Well, you guessed it, not the person with the experience as a school leader.  The business man with the business background and no school leadership experience.  So what do you think?  Should the "head honcho" be the leader without experience leading and school and being in the "trenches" with the teachers and the children?

I was reading an old post from @justintarte on legacy.  I totally agree with his post that people want to know what other people think of them.  "what others think should not be the driving force behind what we say and do; it's merely a piece of the whole puzzle."  Is leadership in schools about what others think?  From my personal experiences it even though we know a good leader is not there to make friends or have people think wonderful things, it is about positive change.  Is it possible to be a good leader and not have people like you?  I believe it is.  

I heard a story recently from a school board member in another district who said that when they were going through the selection process for a new superintendent they went to the candidate's school to interview his current staff members.  Now, this is the part of the story that takes a turn that I was not expecting.  The candidate took the board members who were there to interview staff member and all his staff members into the library.  He separated his staff members in two groups.  On one-half of the room where the staff members that loved him and thought he was the kindest most caring person and on the other half of the room was a group of staff members who did not care for him very much as a person.  But the entire group unanimously thought he was a fantastic principal and the perfect choice for what is best for kids.

There is a story where people can dislike you as a person but can respect you professionally and think that you do excellent work.  Why do people feel like they need to please everyone and be everyone's friend to do good work?  I know that this did not have much to do about legacy, but for the superintendent candidate in the story, I believe that he was successful in leaving a legacy at his school he left.  Oh yeah, he got the superintendent job by the way.  I am sure that through his actions he will spawn more leaders.

Life of an Educator by Justin Tarte: Leave a legacy...
What will your legacy be? For what will you be remembered?
Will your legacy be a legacy of treating others respectfully, fairly and individually?
Will your legacy be a legacy of trust and tolerance to the needs of others?
Will your legacy be a legacy of shared, collective and collaborative approaches toward improvement?
Will your legacy be a legacy of sincerity, selflessness and reliability?
Will your legacy be a legacy of humility and acceptance of failure as a means toward growth?
Will your legacy be a legacy of flexibility, enthusiasm and energy?
Will your legacy be a legacy of courage, strength and vision toward shared aspirations?
Will your legacy be a legacy of helping and serving others so they can achieve their goals?

When I attend conferences, I often find myself asking the question to other educators "What do you teach?" Now when I ask this question I am never really looking for a particular answer and to be quite honest I should rephrase the question. For me personally, when I am asked this question I always respond in the same way, "I teach kids, but the vehicle I drive is science."

So what do we really teach in schools, subjects or kids? I believe that there are a lot of teachers out there in schools today that have that mindset that they are there to teach kids and they use particular subjects in order to do so, but they never answer my question that way. That does not mean that they are not student centered by any means. Even I have caught myself a time or two. We all just get wrapped up in the question and we know what the person is really asking. If they are not really wanting to know what subject or content we teach and want to know that we actually teach "kids", the question is loaded, but loaded in the correct way.

The question is not meant to trip anybody and set them up for failure. It is meant as a way to see where their heart truly lies. Does it lie with the students or the subject? While I love teaching science and there is no other subject that I would rather teach, I love witnessing kids come out of my classroom having a more solid foundation in their reading and writing skills. Nothing makes me more excited that I did my job correctly and that they could read and write better than they did when they entered in September.

Like I have said, I teach kids, but the vehicle I drive is science. How do I use that vehicle? Simple. I am concerned that students need to learn the various objectives in science like cell division and states of matter, but I am more concerned that they can read and write about them. Like Glenn Holland said in Mr. Holland's Opus, "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about."  I use science to reinforce reading and writing. I have them constantly read and write about various topics linked to objectives that are mapped to the science standards.  Is it more important for a student to be able to explain what the three states of matter are or if they can read and write?  I say both are equal.  While state officials and educational leaders would say that reading and writing are the most important subject in ALL schools, there must be topics to read and write about.

I believe that it is important for students to learn about history and science just as much as reading and writing, but my main goal as an educator is to educate students.  I take great care to reinforce what students are learning in language arts and in math by integrating those skills into science.  Science is a captivating subject.  I love being able to use a subject like science or even history to gets students excited while learning reading and writing.