Finally, finally, finally . . .the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards released scores today. Praise God . . . I am now, and for the next 10 years, a National Board Certified Teacher. And, although this phase of the journey is complete, I don’t feel at all that the journey is over. Achieving this certification is just the beginning. I feel, now that my teaching has proven to meet such rigorous standards, that I have the responsibility to share what I have learned over the years, and through the certification process, with others!
First, reflection of our teaching is the key to continued success in the classroom. The National Board Process hinges on the continuous reflection and revision of our attitudes, assignments, rules, procedures, etc. Society does not remain constant, and neither can our teaching. Even after completing the certification process (and subsequent retake) I still find myself continuously reviewing my choices in class—was the lesson successful, were my students engaged, could I have raised my expectations or were my expectations out of reach? Sometimes I reflect so much that I find myself running out of time to prepare the next lesson; needing to always find balance in what is required of me.
That takes me to my second lesson . . . balance. So many times as educators, we allow one part of our life (usually the classroom) to take over. How many of us work in schools where teachers are out ill (it seems) at least once a week, or suffer from chronic illnesses that hinder their energy in the classroom? To be successful in the classroom, we must have life experiences beyond the classroom! I find the best way to balance life is from God’s perspective . . .God comes first, family comes next, and career comes third! If my faith and worship are in the right place, then my family and all its issues and concerns will fall into place and be taken care of, which leaves more than enough time and energy for school. When this order gets reversed, everything falls apart and nothing gets taken care of appropriately!
Finally, to quote an old cliché, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! This was true in my quest to obtain National Board Certification, and it is true in my classroom everyday. I have students who are not motivated and I must try a new strategy everyday until I find one that works . . .then, just because it worked one day, does not mean it will work the next, so I just keep trying new ideas! I have lessons that, as well thought out as they may be, do not yield the desired results from my students, so I just keep trying to improve the lessons! I have classroom arrangements, student incentives, extracurricular activities that fall flat and fail, yet I have to get back up and try, try, try, try again!