What Do Trash Cans Have to Do with Teaching?

This week I am humbled to be part of a group of accomplished educators in this historic NBCTsonthehill event. Together eighteen of us from all over the country have been brought together to help Ron Thorpe and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards move forward with their vision of making National Board Certification the norm for educators.

In the words of the CEO of NBPTS, Ron Thorpe, we can’t become a true profession by saying, I’m good. Trust me. We need to prove it. To this I have to say I agree; in every other aspect of our teaching lives we use evidence.

Ramona Lowe likens teachers to the surgeon who calms a nervous patient telling him not to worry because he is too good of a surgeon for him to die. Well, we should all be too good of teachers for our students to fail….or have anything less than success!

Those of us in education know that we must have relationships with our students. First and foremost before we can teach them or have a well-managed classroom it’s about the relationships we make. Knowing this, Siema Swartzel had her students create the trash can band kids. They created music in a way that was meaningful to them, and as a result of building this rapport, she saw huge gains in some of her toughest students.

Principals Mary Harris and Kiela Sneider have both created an amazing culture in their schools through National Board Certified Teachers. In Mary’s case, establishing the culture of accomplished teaching. Kiela used the reflective nature of the National Board process to naturally improve a high needs school. The turn-around in student progress is quite impressive, and even once she moved on from that school, the results remain.

We want this culture of accomplished teachers. Lisa Markussen agrees that having this high concentration of NBCTs creates this collaborative culture. In contrast to medicine, says Rhonda Blankenship, most teachers are still working in isolation. Jeffrey Wright sums it up well; in medicine students are taught by board certified doctors. That’s not the case in teaching.



  1. Paula Pedrick says:

    I have seen first hand, how the trash can band has truly helped our kids. I have seen the pride that radiates from the faces of these “difficult” children. From this, students have gained confidence in themselves to be better in other areas, such as math and writing. The biggest improvement I have seen is their attitudes. What a difference! Thanks Siema Swartzel!

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

A Place to Reflect & Ruminate

Catina: teaching, learning, leading, creating

Talk Tech With Me

A collection of ideas and thoughts on technology in education.

Daily Shoot

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. John Dewey

Ditch That Textbook

Ed tech, creative teaching, less reliance on the textbook.

Connected Principals

Sharing. Learning. Leading.

Stump The Teacher

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. John Dewey

Posts - Learning in Hand

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. John Dewey

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Be a Better Teacher. Live a Meaningful Life.

The Principal of Change

Stories of learning and leading

Miss Night's Marbles

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. John Dewey


WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

%d bloggers like this: