In honor of this week’s celebration of 112,000+ National Board Certified Teachers, I will focus on what NB certification, the gold standard for the teaching profession, has meant to me.
One of the most satisfying aspects of becoming certified has been the opportunity to mentor other teachers through the same process. I found it interesting that I could mentor folks from general ed to PE to special ed. In all cases, I was looking for those 5 core propositions and knowledge of the standards unique to their fields. Sure, I had to keep referring to the standards, but what a privilege to walk alongside those marvelous teachers!
All candidates must videotape at least once for their portfolios, which made for fascinating viewing and analysis. The cool part was that even those inevitable glitches did not spell doom. In fact, if teachers can see where and how they “missed” something, it becomes an effective part of the NB process. I would have been a little worried if someone didn’t catch the kid facing the wrong way throughout a lesson. And that brings back a memory….
Years before my own certification, I used videotaping routinely to observe my own behavior and that of the kids. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as eagle-eyed as I became during the National Board experience. I remember a principal asking me to share a classroom video of my self-contained class with uncertain parents of a prospective student.
I pulled out a video (filmed with parents’ permission!) and we watched a 20 minute segment. The couple who observed were reassured and entertained, but all I could see was a kiddo with his finger up his nose the ENTIRE lesson! Yikes! Somehow, that had escaped me, both during teaching and when I’d observed the video itself.
The bottom line is that all my mentees received NB certification. And there were no kids with wayward fingers on their videotapes.