I have recently retired after 34 years of teaching! I have taught children in 4th grade, 3rd grade, and kindergarten, but the majority of my career has been in 1st grade where I have found great joy in teaching children to read, write, build number sense and think logically. Although, at any grade level, my first priority is to establish a classroom community where children feel respected, valued, loved, and safe. This community creates a classroom where kids want to come and are excited to learn on a daily basis.
I have also been the K-5 ELA Coordinator for the district for 6 years. In this role, I have guided the writing of curricula, the implementation of best practices, and the development and analysis of effective assessments.
I became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2008 and renewed my National Board Certification in 2017. I have been the National Board Mentor for our district's candidates for the past 8 years. I have also worked extensively at the National Board Resource Center at Illinois State University in various roles.
Why did you want to become National Board Certified?
I wanted to elevate my practice and challenge myself to be the best teacher I could be. I wanted to rise to the expectations of accomplished teaching set forth by the National Board Teaching Standards. I wanted to increase my skill set in order to become a leader and an advocate for best practices within our school district.
What was the most difficult aspect of going through the process?
The National Board process is very different than attending traditional classes, completing tasks, and receiving grades, The NB process requires a teacher to analyze their practice, cite evidence of the teaching standards within their practice and reflect upon the effectiveness of their practice. This is a lengthy, challenging, and complex process, that requires a 6-7 month wait to receive feedback. I think the feeling of "not knowing" how you were doing during the process, and then waiting months for the scores, were the most difficult aspects of the process.
What was the most rewarding part of going through the process?
The most rewarding part of this experience was the validation that teaching is an incredibly important, demanding and complicated profession. When I was required to analyze my practice and articulate the rationales behind my teaching moves, it made me realize how many decisions I make a day and the thought that goes into each decision, to optimize student learning.
What advice would you give others that are thinking about starting the process?
This is a rigorous and challenging journey, and it must be a personal choice to embark upon it. Candidates must be willing to "put their practice" under a microscope and analyze it using the National Board Standards as the "bar", in order to improve their instruction and have a positive impact on student learning.
How has this made you a better educator?
I can honestly say, that I used the foundations of National Board daily in my teaching practice. I followed the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching which is the model that puts the 5 Core Propositions into action.
I believe it is my job to know my students and create learning goals that are worthwhile and appropriate for them. I believe it is also my job to design instruction to teach children these goals and
create assessments that will measure how well they have learned and met the goals. It is also my responsibility to reflect upon
the lesson or sequence of lessons to determine what went well and what changes need to be made for future improvement.