Have you ever done something so out there that people thought you had gone crazy?Something very few others could grasp, understand or relate to? As others skeptically inquire you continue on your way?
Working in a remote rural district that was my experience as I pursued National Board Certification. I was the first in my district to attempt and achieve. I received no additional compensation, awards, congratulations or even pats on the back. But many people have asked why? Why did you do it?
Let’s be honest, I didn’t attempt it for the accolades. My pursuit of National Board Certification was ingrained from my teacher preparation program
At Clarkson, many of the teachers that came to work with us were NBCT’s. They spoke highly of the process: Intense personalized professional development, a most in-depth look into your classroom you could ever have. They were all very happy they had done it. Based on my positive experience with them I knew its value.
My work with the POGIL project reinforced my already developed perception of board certification. As we wrote activities the board certified teachers had an awareness regarding the activities that others didn’t have. It took me months to even come close to developing deep insight like that. Why? Because I hadn’t developed the lens yet.
After branching my wings in the POGIL project I realized that many educators around me perceived education happening to them but not for them. I developed a burning desire to become more involved in education discussions to make sure that rural voice was being represented. As I researched potential opportunities I noticed the number of NBCT’s who were involved. I knew the odds of becoming included in conversations would increase if I was an NBCT. I found myself wondering, why not? What did I have to lose?
Lastly I fear complacency. As a profession education can breed doing the same ‘safe’ thing over and over again even when you know there may be better options out there. It is risky to push the envelope with no guarantee it will be more effective. I pursued hoping that it would challenge me to reach further out of my comfort zone when conducting lessons. While I ended up using tried, true and tested lessons for my components I did branch out more that year than ever before. What I learned from branching is that students get it and are willing to work with their teachers as they learn.
What I learned from the process are many intangible things. Every NBCT has unique reasons why they pursued. If you are an NBCT, what are your reasons? And if you aren’t yet an NBCT, why not give it a try to be #NBCTstrong. The process is now more malleable with you able to structure your components in a way that best suits you. There is one certain outcome your impact on student learning will be significantly higher as an NBCT and that’s hard to argue with!