*Mrs. Kimberlee Haab
This is my 24th year teaching, all in the Coal City CUSD#1. I taught 2nd grade for 11 years and moved to Kindergarten the following year and continue to teach 5 and 6 year olds how to read, write, and develop their number sense.
Why did you want to become National Board Certified?
Honestly, I just love learning and staying current in educational best practices. I had already completed a master’s program plus 45 additional hours, so when Debbie Kasperski, Pam Vigna, and Ann Zafran told me I was a perfect candidate for this journey, I jumped on board with them. I started the process in 2008 when it was rather new to our district so I really didn’t know a lot about National Board at the time. I just knew I wanted to keep learning and be the best teacher I could be.
What was the most difficult aspect of going through the process?
The thing that I struggled most with my first year going through the process was answering the “why” I was doing things in my classroom. At surface level, it was because the standards said that’s what I’m supposed to teach. My curriculum binder says that’s what I should be doing right now. My leader kept asking me, “Yes, but WHY are you teaching that to your students right now?” I started the process over again the following year, and I finally realized all the little pieces that made up the ‘why’ I do what I do, when I do it, with my students. This was some of the deep thinking that National Board asks of you while reflecting on your practice that I wasn’t used to doing. Changing your thinking is hard and I feel that’s what
made this process challenging for me. I was also frightened of the online test which tested my general knowledge over all areas in my certification area of ‘Early Childhood Generalist’ so I knew I would be getting
questions over grade levels I hadn’t taught.
What was the most rewarding part of going through the process?
It was very rewarding when questions came up to answer and I actually knew what I
wanted to say! That happened because I was growing through the process, and thinking/reflecting through things differently. I felt myself changing as an educator and the way I looked at things in my classroom.
What advice would you give others that are thinking about starting the process?
I would really try to find a colleague that’s in your certification area to go through it with you. Having another person going through the same steps, to talk things through with, to bounce ideas off of, etc., is so valuable!
How has this made you a better educator?
I understand the purpose of everything I teach in my classroom and the ‘why’ behind it. I’m not only teaching “the standards” to my students and going through the motions. I recognize each child as an individual and provide instruction based on their needs.