I received certification in Early Childhood in 2005, after 3 years of re-takes, portfolios, assessments, and reflections. (oh my!) Of course I wanted to be one of the ones who earned it the first year, but now I realize how much more I grew as an educator by taking 3 years to complete my journey. It gives me the opportunity to mentor and encourage candidates not to give up as they go through the National Board process.
We have been working on acrostics in my first grade class this week, which led me to think of one for NBCT. These thoughts I’d like to share with you:
N = Nationwide connection
I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent our state a few years back at the NBPTS Hill Day in Washington D.C. At that time I was able to see how awesome it is to belong to such an incredible group of educators. If America was a human body, I feel that National Board teachers are the heart of the body. When we work together as a network – our heartbeat gets stronger to affect and influence the rest of our country’s educational needs. Join and support your fellow NBCTs!
B = Bragging about what you do in your classroom
If you stay in your classroom and “do your own thing” alone NO ONE knows what incredible learning takes place. All teachers must let parents, colleagues, and media outlets share in your teaching. Look for ways to invite others into your class and with all the technology we have today – look for ways to publicize your activities. Support, both financially and physically, will open your classroom to the world!
C = Connecting to Congress and state law makers – Advocacy is such an important part of what we do. I know it’s a little intimidating to contact some of these lawmakers at first. I’ve been there! But once you learn how to reach them and what to say, you find out that they are people doing a job. Because of you sharing your passion for teaching and what you need and why you need it – you help them do a better job as well. It’s so exciting to have that lawmaker come to your class, read to your students, and get to know them. It’s well worth a few butterflies!
T = Teacher to Teacher I have encouraged mentor teaching since working on my graduate degree in1986. It’s so important to have a buddy. As said earlier on our blog, “ Ask someone to try it with you. Whether this is someone in your school or someone online, collaboration can minimize fear because you are not alone. You can discuss ways to improve ideas and celebrate classroom victories together.” Encourage your colleagues to achieve National Board Certification. Encourage your NBCT teachers to come to conferences such as our state network conference in January. You will enjoy the journey together.
Because of National Board Certification, I have had articles about my classroom in newspapers, met congressmen and had them read to my class, had the commander of the International Space Station speak to my whole school, taught workshops for Promethean and ATEC, served as a presenter for Space Exploration Education Conferences at NASA, become Teacher of the Year for my school, skyped with classes across the ocean and mentored by a National Teacher of the Year, Betsy Rogers. It opens the world to our students through us. Let’s continue to “extend our reach”!
~By Suzanne Roper Lisenby, NBCT 2005