HHH’s National Board Certified Teachers were asked to share their certification experience and the impact the experience had in their classrooms. As there are several HHH members who are currently going through the certification process themselves or who are contemplating participating in the future, teachers also shared some advice for those members.
The HHHTA is proud to share these stories with the HHH Community!
1. What prompted you to go through the process to become a NBCT?
I had been teaching in the district for 15 years at that time; I was eager for inspiration, and looking for new ways to revitalize my instructional methods. I have always been interested in finding unique ways to further develop as an art educator and refine my practice. When the opportunity to achieve National Board Certification was offered, I thought that it would be a perfect next step in my journey.
2. How did the certification process impact your classroom (ie: increase in parental involvement, improved teaching techniques, becoming more reflective)?
The National Board process definitely helped me to become more reflective. There is always room for improvement as an educator, and this process helped me to realize the specific areas on which I needed to focus. After so many years of teaching, it is sometimes difficult to self-diagnose these areas... Everything often seems to "run like clockwork" and it is easy to slip into the mindset that "you've got it all covered, all of the time." National Board Certification helped me to recognize key areas that needed improvement and allowed me to overcome any risk of complacency. As a result of the certification process, I was able to become more organized in my teaching space. Part of the certification for an art teacher requires that you videotape and explain the organization of your classroom. Taking the time to re-think the classroom space was indispensable! I am STILL noticing the impact of my re-structured classroom on a daily basis. The day-to-day activities are running more smoothly and there is an efficient system in place that allows my students to be completely self-sufficient when retrieving supplies. This has given me the freedom to spend the majority of my class instruction time focused on my students and their creative process, rather than worry about the logistics of setting up and cleaning up supplies.
I was given the opportunity to truly examine my teaching methods and take creative risks that invigorated my lessons and solidified the positive rapport that I had with my students. Throughout the certification process and especially AFTER achieving Certification, I have held myself to a higher set of personal expectations. I now not only ask myself; "How can I do that more effectively?" but I am consistently coming up with answers to that question more easily.
3. If you could give one piece of advice to someone going through the certification process, what would it be?
The best advice I can give to a teacher going through National Board Certification is to focus on time management. The process can seem overwhelming at times, but the sense of personal accomplishment you will feel and the visible impact on your students' learning will make it completely worth the effort!