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 actually heard about the National Board process after teaching for about five years. After reviewing all of the different components that were involved in the certification process, it sounded like an interesting challenge, but I decided that I needed more teaching experience before tackling what seemed like a very daunting task. I forgot about National Board for a while until 2010 when it was being promoted in the district.
After attending the informational meeting, I evaluated where I was as an educator and decided that I was at a point in my life where I was ready to take on what seemed to be a huge challenge. I applied for the certification, received the materials and then hit the ground running!
2. How did the certification process impact your classroom (ie: increase in parental involvement, improved teaching techniques, becoming more reflective)?
The certification process impacted so many different components in my classroom. I see the greatest impact in my communication with parents and in my lesson planning. Before this process, I thought I was doing a pretty decent job with keeping families in the loop about classroom events. When evaluating my communication mediums, I realized that all I was doing was telling parents what was going on in my classroom, but not really providing them with insight as to what could be done to support their children. I started including tips for classroom support in my newsletters and it had a tremendous impact in my classroom. Parents responded positively and frequently said that they felt like they knew what was needed to support their children at home. This helped to promote a feeling of classroom community.
In addition to improved communication, there has been an improvement in my lesson planning as well. Before National Board, I really felt that I needed to do every single worksheet that was out there and I often threw in the kitchen sink in my lessons. After going through through the National Board process, I started questioning everything! "Why was I reading a specific book? Why was I assigning a specific activity? How did I intend to evaluate student learning?" The questions were endless, but the fact that I was asking these questions was a real eye-opener for me. I was becoming a more reflective practitioner and this benefited my students. I now weed through a lot of the "fluff", focus on what's important and continually assess the impact of each lesson.
3. If you could give one piece of advice to someone going through the certification process, what would it be?
The certification process was definitely one of the most challenging moments in my career. There were many times that I just thought, "What am I doing?!?!? Is this worth it?"
Going through the process with peers is very important! It's very beneficial to have sounding boards so that you can bounce ideas around. Your peers will most likely be asking themselves the same exact questions that you have, so it's great to have honest conversations with them about your struggles and triumphs. Everyone brings a different perspective, so it's a good idea to listen to various viewpoints, choose what works for you and ultimately go with your gut. You have to be confident that you are doing what is best for your classroom and students.
I'm now a great deal more confident in my approach when teaching and I believe all of my students have benefited from me going through the certification process. I wish all the best to whoever decides to go through the National Board process. It's definitely an intense experience, but there is so much satisfaction felt when everything is completed!