Everybody stumbles into the National Standards program in his or her
own way. My experience came about inadvertently because of another program I
was working on for the Idaho Education Association. Working with the KEYS (Keys to
Excellence in your Schools) program, I was in contact with some of the most
dedicated and professional teachers in my district. During a workshop break an
elementary school teacher who has a reputation in the District as the consummate 'pro'
mentioned that she was busy "getting ready for the National Boards."
Curious monkey that I am, one question led to another and our conversation ended with her
saying that she'd send me some information. Ya, right! How many times
have I heard that little ditty. Short story long, sure enough she e-mails me
some web links to the program in Idaho and Nationally, along with the names of
some of the program director folks. This was sometime in June of 1998. I read
a little on the program and tucked it way for later reference.
My interest in the National Standards program goes to the heart of why this profession has
remained interesting and challenging to me, even after twenty years of slogging my way
through endless reams of final draft wannabes.
It all goes to that quiet moment of self-reflection (usually on the way home) when I'm
parsing what went well that day and what could have been better. Sometimes it's a
combination of both, but in any case, even after twenty years there's something elusive
about the perfectly smooth lesson or the intelligent and enthusiastic discussion
that ends by the class looking up at the clock and announcing with shocked voices,
"wow, class is over already."