Wednesday, February 22, 2012

National Board Update

National Boards are a roller coaster.  At one moment, I am so excited that I've come up with this genius lesson and then the next minute I've torn it all apart and have convinced myself of so many holes in my thinking that I can't possibly consider submitting it.  Remember my post about "Making it Work?"    Well, I couldn't make that video work.  I realized that I had so much that I could reflect on in that video, as in things I would do differently, management I would work differently (and have since analyzing that piece of work), that there wasn't enough substance where I could prove I was an accomplished teacher.

Unfortunately, scrapping that video meant scrapping my whole unit for submission.  Entry 3, as it's called, focuses on integrating math and science in a four to eight week unit.  My forces and motion unit finished three week prior and resurrecting it from the dead would have been pointless for my students and for me, would have felt like banging my head against the wall.  So, I started my solar system unit 2 weeks ago.  I plan to get my video of a superb math/ science activity on Friday and hopefully start writing the entry up this weekend.  If not, I will cry.  And I have already cried over this entry (a lot).

Being a National Board Candidate is hard.  However, that said, this year has been professionally fantastic for me.  As much stress as National Board has put on me, it is making me a better teacher.  I am able to better articulate my instructional decisions.  School board members come into my room and I am able to spout out what my goals for the lessonare, how my students are progressing in those goals and what I expect their outcomes to be.   I honestly think I scare some of them - which, honestly, I'm ok with.  I am now better equipped to defend my profession, advocate for the needs of my students and I, in general, have more confidence at work especially around administrators and district personnel. 

I encourage other teachers to pursue National Board Certification.  Here's why:
  • It is so hard, but it will make you a better teacher.
  • The process is expensive, but if you work at a Title I school you can get it close to completely funded.  I have only paid $65 of the fees out of my pocket.  $2500 of my fees have been paid by a scholarship I received from the AZK12 center.
  • The AZK12 center is amazing!!! I've met so many amazing and inspiring teachers through events I've attended with them.  I go monthly to their Coaching Saturdays where I get to discuss my entries with experienced coaches and other candidates.  I love the AZK12 center so much, I'll even link to them here.
  • I'll support you.  Especially if you are at my school :-)  There is a certificate for every possible teaching scenario.  It will make you rethink your job. (Sometimes it will make you want to quit, but those feelings pass quickly.  I'm going for complete honesty about this process here.)
Pre-candidacy class for next school year starts in a little over a month.  You can read about it here: Pre-candidacy.  If you feeling dispirited about being a teacher in today's very political age full of district mandates and politicians not knowing what they are talking about when it comes to education, I urge you to consider it.  It will confirm every good and amazing thing that you believe about teaching.

Of course, you know, I am always willing to talk about it :-)

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