Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why I Became a NBCT

In 2011 I began my journey to become a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT). The process was demanding, thought-provoking, and exciting. I achieved certification in November 2013 along with 258 other Kentucky teachers.  Words can’t express the excitement I felt when I logged into the National Board site and saw the words “Congratulations”. Lately, I have been reflecting on my journey to become a NBCT. A few friends have asked me why I wanted to become a NBCT and I have tried to figure out exactly how to explain my desire for the certification.  I had lots of reasons for becoming a NBCT, but they all seem to fit into a few categories: challenge, control, company, and compensation.

Challenge: As a teacher who is always looking to improve, it made sense to try to attain a certification that is both recognized and respected nationally.  I liked that the process was voluntary and the portfolio entries focused on both content knowledge and teaching practice. The standards were high and focused on what teachers should know and be able to do. I knew the process would stretch me professionally, and I wanted that challenge. In fact, I needed it.

Control: It’s no surprise that this type-A, detail-oriented teacher likes to have some say in her professional growth. As a result, I often have 40 or more hours of PD credit each year because I self-select PD experiences above the required ones my school or district offers. So, it was only natural that the National Board Certification process, focused on my teaching practices and classroom, was attractive to me. Throughout the entire process, I had control over what I would teach, how I would teach it, and when I would teach it.

Company: One of the reasons that convinced me to pursue National Board Certification was the amazing teachers in my building who were NBCTs. These teachers were the leaders in our building. They were problem-solvers, learners, and creative thinkers. Most of them would tell you that they are “just doing their jobs”, but the truth is many of those teachers go beyond the general parameters of their job description. They are teachers who are committed to their students, learn from their experiences, and strive to grow professionally. As I listened to my colleagues talk about their National Board Certification experience, I realized that I wanted to earn that title as well.

Compensation: Since I already had a Master’s degree it seemed logical for me to pursue my National Board Certification as a way to achieve a Rank 1 status. Not only would this give me a bump up in pay, but National Board Certification would give me an additional bonus paid by my state. Further, I didn’t have the time, patience, desire, or money to spend on a traditional Rank 1. I suppose, if I am honest, the title was a sort of compensation, too.  I like having NBCT next to my name. It is a physical sign that hard work and talent in teaching are recognized.

Even a year after achieving National Board Certification, I still find myself reflecting on those two years of work. My growth as a teacher during that time definitely impacts my classroom today.  The journey to become an NBCT is one that I am glad I decided to take. 

1 comment:

  1. I've been wondering as to whether or not I should pursue this for myself. Thanks for your thoughts.