In our post-pandemic and post-George Floyd world, I want my students to feel empowered and have agency. This is why, in my lessons with my 10th graders last semester, I focused on teaching self-determination and advocacy.

For every one of my students, these concepts mean something different. For Elisa, it is about being Latino and queer. For Joseph, it is reading more about Black leaders and what it means to learn from their community members. For Gabriel, it is considering his future as a doctor.

For me as their teacher — and, I believe, for other educators as well — the standards help me to practice the kind of teaching where I take my students’ experiences and learning strengths and turn them into assets within the classroom learning environment. This is where the California Standards for the Teaching Profession, or CSTP, come into play. The teaching standards are intended to provide a common language for new to veteran teachers’ professional responsibilities and roles in effective teaching.

They help California’s educators like me with a scaffold of guidelines for our development as we progress through our professional responsibilities, growing from teacher candidates into seasoned professionals. These teaching standards push us not to take baby steps but leap into action when it comes to equity and instructional practices that better support our students in today’s classrooms. School leaders and teacher mentors also use the teaching standards as a guideline for coaching new and veteran teachers to refine and develop their practice.

Last updated in 2009, the teaching standards now need to be refined to reflect the needs of California’s 2022 classrooms. The Commission on Teaching Credentials began the process of revising them for adoption in November 2019. An advisory board met throughout 2020 to review the standards and shared a draft with the commission for feedback. The standards are now awaiting commission approval. I couldn’t be more excited about this change.

One of the best things about the new teaching standards is that they’re actionable and can be used to actively build out new lessons. They are set up to equip educators with the tools and language to implement culturally sustaining instruction in our classrooms, regardless of the content. For example, in a recent lesson, my students researched leaders who pushed for action in their communities, thus simultaneously building their research skills and learning about new role models.

Read the full article about teaching standards by Josh Salas at EdSource.