I submitted my evidence for National Board certification. Whew! What an amazing process. I highly suggest it for any teacher passionate about reflecting on and learning from their own teaching process.
Many of you have asked, "now what?" Well, now, I wait. The scoring process is quite rigorous and many of the evaluators are teachers themselves (a.k.a., busy people). I will receive my results on New Year's Eve. No joke. In seven months.
Many of you have asked how this will affect my career. When I achieve, my district will add an extra $2,000 per year to my base pay. This is very competitive. Some districts help pay for the certification, including conferences. In a friend's district, they actually hire a professional to help their teachers achieve.
It will also look VERY nice on a resume. Being nationally board certified puts you in an elite circle of teachers and that makes you highly marketable.
I will also be able to add a few more letters to my signature. As of right now, I can sign "Susan Rodriguez, M. Ed." I did it once but it felt pretentious. After I certify, I will be able to sign "Susan Rodriguez, M. Ed., NBCT". Please. I can hardly get through all the letters in "Rodriguez". I will probably only sign it once in a letter to my mom and then, never again.
Yet, none of those were reasons I pursued national board certification. I did it for the kids.
Working on national board certification requires a high level of self-analysis. You realize this the first time when you begin videotaping. You see things in your room from another perspective; another lens, if you will. Why did I put that there? Why did I put those students together? Why did I wear that outfit? Just kidding... Kind of... Not really. To be honest, I felt like a high school student on my video days; standing in front of my closet, changing outfits about 6 times.
But that is just the "visual". There are so many other aspects as well. Why do I say that? Is there a better way I could have handled that?
And then the critique of your actual teaching. You critically analyze every word that came out of your mouth and every message your body conveyed. You start to look at ways to improve everything. every. thing.
I'm not saying I'm the best teacher in the world. Hardly. In fact, after going through this process, I see areas where I want to improve. But, I found myself improving almost daily just going through the process. I can honestly say this was my best year teaching. I instituted programs, policies, and routines that increased rigor, student engagement, and student achievement.
So, why did I do it? To stand on some stage to receive accolades? Not likely. I did it because every child deserves a better education. Every child deserves a nationally board certified teacher.