I have recently been asked to mentor a fellow English teacher as she works toward through the National Board certification process http://www.nbpts.org. I am elated to support someone else in the journey to add NBCT endorsement to her credentials. And I am reminded of my own reflective voyage through the certification process and the philosophical awareness I own because of my experience.
Why go through the National Board certification process? Having the certification is more than a pay increase. It is a yearlong process that takes a teacher’s classroom approach to planning, instruction, and assessment and cultivates her skills, her knowledge, and her behaviors. The refinement happens within job embedded experiences and results in authentic professional development.
These teachers also receive acknowledgement as expert practitioners. By having to demonstrate mastery of content standards, these teachers earn pedagogical respect from authorities in the field of education. Why? These teachers have advanced their approaches to evaluating students, refining practice, and fine-tuning the student-centered classroom.
At the end of the yearlong process, after the portfolio is complete, the documentation videos are made, and the on-demand assessments have been taken, there is new confidence found in having completed the course. These teachers often become activists for education reform. They serve as classroom teachers, as department chairs, as site-based council members, as curriculum directors, as consultants in the field of education, as student advocates.
I am one of these teachers who changed fundamentally. I guarantee that just by participating in the process you too will be changed. The change may be a fresh passion for teaching. The change may be a different approach to educational restructuring. The change may be a renewed effort to reform teacher practice. Imagine the change.