Hello bloggers! Chances are, if you've found this blog it is because you are thinking about National Board Certification or have already taken the leap. First, congratulations! This will be the most intense, frustrating, awesome, rewarding and terrifying thing you ever do in your career. Guaranteed.
First, let me introduce myself to you. My name is Raye and I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Early/Middle Childhood Literacy. I first began the National Board process in the 2011-2012 school year when I taught 2nd grade. I missed certification on the first try by decimals (0.375 of a point to be exact). I pulled my big girl pants on and redid one entry and certified in November 2013. I am going into my 10th year of teaching in 2015-2016 and will be teaching 3rd grade (ironically enough in my old 2nd grade room where I began the National Board Process!). I have taught 2nd, 4th and 5th grades prior to this coming year. Currently I am a 2nd year doctoral candidate at Concordia University-Portland working on my Ed.D. in Teacher Leadership. Someone has to change the world and I figure it may as well be me :) My ultimate goal is to start a teacher-led school in West Michigan where I live.
National Board Certification is the most amazing thing I have ever done. To be 100% honest, people scoff and think I did it so I could add NBCT behind my name when I sign things (and yes, I do proudly add letters behind my name in a professional capacity). These naysayers do not understand. I did not go through this arduous process because I wanted to add letters behind my name. I wanted to make a difference in education. Period. No one can take away the growth I made as a teacher during the certification process. You are focused to objectively evaluate yourself and really look for areas where you can grow and in turn help students grow. I would say that for me, the biggest takeaway from the whole process is, it is not about you. It is about kids. Period.
With that said, the National Board process is currently under revision. The biggest changes are in the timeline for completion and the names things are called. When I worked on National Board, there were "entries" and now they are called "components". At that time, you could complete all four components in one year; as of this writing, that is not possible as some components have not been released under the revision yet. If one was to begin National Board Certification process today (July 9, 2015), you would not be able to certify until November of 2017 at the earliest. This is because the final component will not be released until the 2016-2017 school year.
You can find information on all of the available certification areas here. This page provides you with links to the information for Components 1 and 2 for all of the available certificates. (Component 3 is due to be released this fall.) I will mostly discuss the EMC Literacy certificate since that is the certification that I have and know well.
There are 4 Components total.
- Content Knowledge - This is a computer based exercise. It used to be called "Assessment Center" and was usually done AFTER the portfolio entries. For the EMC Literacy certificate there are 3 exercises (Analyzing Student Reading, Writing Development and Literacy Across the Curriculum). There are also 40 multiple choice questions included in this component.
- Differentiation in Instruction - This used to be Entry 1 or 2 (depending upon the certificate). This component allows you to show your ability to plan instruction based upon a student's needs and provide work samples and written commentary to provide evidence of that.
- Learning Practice and Teaching Environment (information available fall 2015)
- Effective and Reflective Practitioner (information available fall 2016)
Personally, I would have appreciated having the option to do two one year and two the next year. When I was a retake candidate and only had one entry to focus upon for the whole school year, it was soooo much easier on me mentally. I did not have to fuss or worry about all of the other components looming over me. As more information becomes available about the revision process and as new components are available, I will update this information.