Saturday, January 23, 2010

Working with National Board Certification Candidates

I'm in the middle of my National Board Certification support workshops, spending my Saturday assisting teachers who are pursuing this advanced certification, reading entries and watching videos, and generally asking lots of questions to get teachers to come to their own conclusions about their instruction.

Is it working? Maybe.

I'm still amazed at this point in the process (deadline to submit is March 31st) how many folks have barely even gotten a start on the process. They've brainstormed, planned, organized maybe, but they haven't taught a single lesson that they are planning on picking to pieces and analyzing as part of one of their instructional entries. It's mid-January, folks! You don't have much longer, and what is it you're actually doing every day? Aren't you teaching already? Then use one of those lessons to describe, analyze and reflect upon to show you're an accomplished teacher!

Maybe I've forgotten how to work with those less confident educators or maybe I'm stressed or maybe I'm just ready for folks who decide to take the plunge into the NBC process to suck it up and actually read the instructions and BE. A. PROFESSIONAL.

But then there are the positive moments, when a teacher shares her portfolio entries and she's dead on, providing concrete evidence of how her particular accomplishment impacted her students' learning or how a particular instructional strategy really worked for that specific group of students. All questions answered. All evidence presented. Good, strong stuff.

Maybe I'm getting too cynical.

I do still believe that the NBC process is some of the best professional development, makes you more analytical and reflective on your teaching process. I'm probably most concerned that due to the changes in funding the process in NC that too many educators who were not ready for the process dove in head first with no real understanding of what they were getting into. And with the changes in funding, there will be fewer candidates and therefore, less money going into NBPTS. What will that mean for that organization?

And what will that really mean for this certification? Will it be valued? Or will it just be another piece of a paper in a nice frame on my wall?

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