Call me crazy....but I am really thinking about going for my National Board Certification this school year. Part of me is a tiny bit leery since we're getting a new reading program and I haven't taught 2nd grade in awhile (and I only taught it once before). I'm not sure if I'll be shooting myself in the foot by trying to tackle this as well.
The Husband thinks I have lost my mind. He is bulking at the $2,500 fee. He thinks it is crazy. I pointed out that it's cheaper than getting a PhD (or a Master's for that matter!). My district reimburses $1,000 of the initial fee and I am sure I can get a grant or some other kind of scholarship to help pay for the rest. Additionally, my district pays out a $5,000 stipend to any teacher who passes the test (even if it isn't on the first round).
I've been thinking about National Board for a long time actually. Ever since I first heard about it (in 2005 or 2006 I think), I have known it was in my future. Not just because I just want to be fabulous and be able to say I am a National Board teacher....but also because everyone I know who has gone through it says their teaching practice has dramatically changed for the better because they spend so much time reflecting and reviewing their craft to make the most impact on children. That appeals to me.
And honestly....a tiny bit of me wants to show Mrs. Principal that I am not a slacker (yes, I am still harboring a little resentment over my final evaluation -- see, I am still working on the Awakened strategies!). I know that I do as good of a job as I can with my students. I bust my behind and give them everything I can. Even those little friends who make me want to stab myself in the eye in frustration get 100% of what I can give them each and every day that they are in my classroom.
I have downloaded a lot of things from the National Board website to help me decide if this is something I really want to do right now. At this point, if I do go forward with this, I have until January 31 to pay the full fee and then the portfolio entries are due March 31, 2012. The initial fee is $500 and you get your portfolio box and all of the forms after that so I could begin working on my entries even before I have paid the full balance of the assessment (giving me time to try to get a scholarship or whatnot).
I am looking at two different certificates -- either English as a New Language (Early/Middle Childhood) or Literacy: Reading-Language Arts (Early/Middle Childhood). My undergrad degree is in Language Arts and I am always looking to improve my delivery of reading and writing instruction. Children's needs are so diverse nowadays. My master's is in ESL and that certificate appeals to me as well because I will have a vast majority of ELL students in my classroom as long as I am teaching at Current School.
So right now, I am planning to read through all of the information I downloaded and really decide if I am ready to do this. I think I am. I think this process will really give me the opportunity to strengthen my craft where I want to strengthen it but also provide me with many opportunities to grow professionally. I don't know of a single teacher in my district that has National Board Certification. It doesn't mean there aren't any but I know a LOT of people in the district and I don't know any who have it or have attempted it.
So I shall sit on this a bit....and see what happens. Right now the application is down because they are revamping it. It should be up and running by the 20th or 21st of this month. That gives me some time to really think this through and decide if I am ready to do this.
I also discovered they have something called "Take One" where you do one portfolio entry from whatever certificate area you select so you can see how the scoring process works. If you pass that entry, you can use that score if/when you go for the full certification. That's an option to possibly explore as well because it's MUCH cheaper (less than the initial fee for the full certificate) and at least gives you an idea of what to expect.
I was also very excited to discover that there is a National Board assessment center about 10 minutes from my school. So that makes things very convenient whenever I do go this route, even if it isn't right now.