*Ms. Brooke Hanley
I have been teaching for 15 years. I started my teaching career with Channahon School District where I was an early childhood special education teacher. I then moved on to teaching in Coal City, as a third grade teacher, where I have spent the last 13 years.
I decided to become a National Board teacher because I wanted to further my education. I already had my masters degree and was looking for something that would help me continue to challenge myself and become a better educator.
I think the most difficult part of the National Board process for me was the unknown. The entire time I was working through the process I was unsure if I was on the right track. There is no teacher to guide you or give you feedback. I was lucky enough to have 3 mentor teachers, who assisted me through the process. Without them, I am not sure if I would have made it!
The most rewarding part of the National Board process for me was watching my classroom videos and witnessing all the wonderful learning that was happening in my classroom everyday. As teachers we don’t always get to see and hear all the little things the students are experiencing as we are working with other students. I loved watching the videos and hearing the conversations of my students and the excitement on their faces when they figured something out.
My advice would be to be prepared! Be prepared to watch yourself as an educator and find lots of things you need to change. Be prepared to work really hard on papers and assessments. Be prepared to feel alone because unfortunately not many people take this challenge, and if they haven’t been through it, they just can’t help or understand. Most importantly, be prepared to feel a great accomplishment when it’s all done!
I think going through the National Board process made me a better educator because I learned how to take myself out of my lessons and instead put my students needs and goals first. Before NB I was always planning what I was going to teach to the students. I have learned that the students needs and goals are what drive each of my lessons today.