Why did you become an National Board of Teaching Standards certified teacher? I'm pondering the idea for next year, but can't decide if it will make me a better teacher.
5th grade teacher responded:
I did it for my own personal growth. I've been teaching for 20 years, and this was a way to challenge myself and my views on what was best for my students. The process helped me see the things I was doing right, and it refocused my attention on the things that I had let slip over the years. I think my class last year and my current class have really benefited from it. Also, I became more vocal about doing what is best for students & student learning, and I had classroom data to back up what I was doing. It has to be something you are willing to commit to - I know I invested close to 400 hours to the process, but I feel that it was worth it.
Kay, I am going through the process right now as a new candidate -- and I can tell you that I really wanted to see how it would make me think about my teaching. Wow! Am I thinking!! :) I have to answer lots of "why" questions, and although I have never been that teacher who has "always done it this way just because" -- I am now having to put what I already know into words. In that way, even without certifying, it has made me much more aware of what I teach and why I teach it the way I do. That is actually a good thing for my program -- especially in a world that seems to be run by math and reading -- I can "justify" how my program fits in with those and is also strong enough to stand alone.
Then, my secondary reason is that I really want to pursue a Master's program -- but educational funds keep me from doing that. If I certify, my state pays $5,000 per year for the next 10 years -- on top of my salary. That money is graduate school and some home improvements!
Plus, two years ago, my husband was laid off by his company, and he got a job working from home -- but his "office' was really in Maryland. If we needed to move there, I was afraid of not finding a job. This way, I'm hoping that National Certification will get me into any other state if needed.
These are my reasons. So I am working my tail off! And so far, enjoying the process.