I am fortunate to serve on a state-level education committee.
The Committee on Accreditation (COA) is commissioned by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) with the important task of issuing accreditation decisions based on institutional reviews or teacher preparation programs.
What makes this service extraordinary is the fact that I am a classroom teacher… the only classroom teacher on the committee. I serve with other educators, but the term educator is broad and encompasses former superintendents, former elementary school teachers, TOSA’s and members who have titles at Institutes of Higher Education (IHE’s). I am the only one currently in the classroom on a daily basis.
We meet about every two months (sometimes every month when business heats up) and I leave each meeting thankful that I get to sit with smart people in the room. The committee members are diverse in their experiences and their opinions. As we make decisions regarding policy and standards for teacher preparation in the State of California, it is guaranteed that many perspectives get presented. It is great to be part of the process.
I fight feelings of inadequacy and worry that if I speak up that what I may say is irrelevant and misguided. There are times when staff to the committee respond to a statement I make and I feel scolded. My amazing colleagues on the committee encourage me to comment and validate many of the things I say. Yet, I still hear that tiny voice in the back of my head that says, “I’m just a teacher. What do I know?”
We have dialogues and conversations that reflect teachers, administrators, students and institutions throughout the state. We grapple with big issues admidst fiscal restraints. We constantly evaluate, revise, study, improve and think about quality programs to ensure quality educators for all students. We recognize problems, call out institutions, tighten the ropes, open our minds, and work for realistic, effective policy. My experience on the COA has provided me with insight to a process that many classroom teachers did not even know exist.
I am a teacher. And I know a lot. Turns out… I am one of the smart people in the room!