Notes on Becoming a Model


This process is humbling. It forces me to look at areas I have fallen short, despite how popping I am as a teacher in general. 

It makes me feel guilty for not doing enough. This morning, I declare and transform guilt into motivation to raise the bar for myself, students, and peers. 

Now that I truly understand what it takes to be a model teacher, I want to provide teachers with training to do these things. I feel like I have never explicitly been held to the expectations of a model teacher, and if I feel this way, it’s problematic because this means it’s true for many teachers. 

I want to help teachers ensure all students are meeting and exceeding at least 5 standards a year, intentionally planning based on individual-student data driven needs and being flexible, attending PLCs that teach them research based strategies for meeting and exceeding standards, and then showing them how to lead their peers from the classroom. This is what I have done, overall, these past 11 years but not exclusively all at one time. 

I really want to lead the work on providing our teachers with MODEL professional develop sessions — First thing we will have people do is affirm: I am a model teacher. And have our students affirm that they exceed standards and expectations. 
Just having the rubric is not enough. Our teachers need scaffolded support and I am holding myself and my peers in leadership accountable for this from now on. We have the skills, we must cultivate our team to grow our children. 

I had a melt down last night when I saw my PARCC scores were 4.9% pass rate and the district goal was 5%. We did not exceed. We barely made it. This is not good enough. I do not subscribe to the measurements of standardized exams but I know we can do better than the minimum. We just have to be taught how. 
Even with my classroom assessments, I have not been giving myself and my students enough time to show mastery of a target when they fail. I reteach but I have fallen short on retesting, this year. This attitude of, they will get it eventually, even if not from me—came from me trying to follow the deadlines of the district curriculum, getting the multiple projects that the curriculum assigns done so that I can move on to the next unit. I actually created and administered new exams to retest the skills that my students did not pass but they never got graded. I chose to let them sit so that I could move on. That was wrong. I hate that it took for this process for me to think like this but cannot live in guilt. I have to use this as motivation to do what I know our students  need, not just for a portfolio but for life. I have to help my school create systems that do not allow us as teachers to fail our students like I have. 

The process of pursuing Model Teacher Status has changed me and I am grateful for it. Some processes show you how strong you are, others show you your areas for growth. If I had not began to pursue this status, I wonder if I would’ve self assessed in this way? Probably not. 

So I have been asking myself, am I ready to submit a portfolio in 3 weeks? The answer is that I will not give up, now. My grandmother always says, nothing beats a failure but a try. 

*correction: 59% of my students approached or met expectations. 


  1. VALENCIA!!!! MS CLAY!!! I LOVE this blog!!!! Amazing! You have helped me in the last couple of weeks I read this blog as if it’s a book. You inspire me as a woman to continue to find me and to give me my all. You show me I’m not alone. Writer to writer how can I get naked with my words. I find myself hesitating to let it go. How can I move past that? How did you?

  2. I write for me and I can’t lie to or hide from myself.


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