Tree of Learning: One Newly Certified NBCT’s Story

By: Keri Taylor, NBCT
Originally posted on the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute

My National Board certification journey began as an idea, a seed. As a lifelong learner, I was seeking my next challenge, when a colleague who had achieved certification was looking to start a cohort at our school in which she would provide support to a group of teachers who would commit to being candidates. I chose to attempt to achieve certification over a two year time frame.

As I began to dig into the National Board Body of Knowledge, and the seed began to take root, I quickly realized that there was a lot of information to take in. There was the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching, which had strong parallels to writing and implementing an Individualized Education Program (IEP), something I do all of the time as a special education teacher. Then there was the 5 Core Propositions, some of which I felt I already strongly embraced, such as teachers are committed to students and their learning, and others that were a bigger stretch for me, such as teachers are members of learning communities. Early in my career I spent some years feeling like an island. I collaborated with general education teachers, but not effectively and in a way that was impacting my instruction positively. The other piece was the Standards for the certificate area I was seeking certification in, which still hold new meaning every time I read them.

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Student-Centered: Reflections From A New NBCT

By: Jessica Maloy, NBCT
Originally posted on the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute

Although the National Board journey made me break into shingles, I would go through all the stress again in a heartbeat. This process stretched my mind, it refocused my teaching pedagogy, and it opened my heart. The five propositions challenged me to focus on my students. It taught me to see who they were as individuals, not just numbers in a chair. The National Board standards encouraged me get to know my students. I set personal goals to talk to each student every day. I found out their hobbies, their passions, their motivation, and their backgrounds. With this knowledge, I was able to cater my state standards and teaching expectations to my students’ interests, so we could reach proficiency while incorporating their interests. When I found out most of the students liked to draw, I added artwork to my lesson plans and instead of doing worksheets to show plot diagrams, we used pictures and created comic books. The students were so successful when they were able to learn in their own way.

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What Becoming a National Board Certified Teacher Means to Me

By: L. Juliana Urtubey, NBCT
Originally posted on the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute

My Process
My curiosity to become a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) was sparked when I was exploring paths to evaluate my craft. I was at a point in my career where I needed to delve deeply into my practice. I wondered how I could be more effective. How could I translate my knowledge and practice into professional development that was effective and individualized? How could I analyze my practice in an authentic manner?

Discovering the National Board certification process was just what I needed. My decision to pursue National Board certification was a commitment to my practice, my students, and community. I learned that the process was deeply personal and individualized; it could be what I chose to make it.

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Renewal Candidate Reflections: Stop Rescuing Students

By: Rachel Croft, NBCT
Originally posted on the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute

Ten years ago, I became a National Board Certified Teacher. Ten years ago, there was not an explosion of fireworks on the computer screen like there is now to celebrate certification. What I saw was a simple blue screen that stated my score. This was an anti-climactic end to a grueling year of life-consuming work.

Completing my National Board certification was a new kind of professional development for me. Prior to learning about National Board, I thought the only way to advance in education was to accumulate degrees. I had already completed a graduate school degree, where I followed a prescribed set of classes and hoops that I jumped through with very little accountability or question regarding the outcome. National Board was so very different. It was scary to be in charge of determining my own needs through self-assessment and determining my own actions steps. It was overwhelming to immerse myself in the best practices across the full range and ability level of Literacy and come to the stark realization my implementation was lacking. With those challenges before me, I dove into my pursuit of National Board Certification.

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Why I Chose to Pursue National Board Certification

By: Amy Jensen, NBCT
Originally posted on the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute

My path to National Board Certification has been circuitous, as I did not begin my teaching career until I was 43 years old. When I was young and in college, I was uncertain what I wanted to do in my life, but I knew that I did NOT want to become a teacher. I came from a long line of educators, and I was certain that was definitely not the path for me. I married, supported my husband while he earned a law degree, then focused on raising our three young daughters. When they all entered school, I became a substitute teacher in order to work in their schools and supplement our income. During that time, I sometimes worked as a substitute for a middle school P.E. teacher (who had taught school for at least thirty years). Over her desk, handwritten in green marker on an index card, was a note to herself reminding her of her importance in her students’ lives. The note read: “You may be the most important person your students see today, and it may have nothing at all to do with your subject matter.” It was not until I was actually in the classroom that I began to feel that teaching was what I was meant to do, and that – like that P.E. teacher – I could make a difference for students.

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Happenings