I am currently in my 11th year of teaching. This is my second year at Coal City High School. I teach Freshman Fitness Concepts, Fitness for Life, and Driver Education at the high school. I also coach Sophomore Girls' Basketball. My family recently moved to a new house in Bourbonnais. I have been married for 8 years and have 2 very active children.
Why did you want to become National Board Certified?
I wanted to pursue National Board because it was a chance for me to analyze, critique, and reflect on my own personal teaching style and the units and lessons that I have developed throughout my teaching career. I was able to study the subject that I love the most, Fitness! With the help of Pam Vigna, National Board also allowed me to work at my own pace throughout the year which meant there was really only one deadline. I do not have a master's degree yet and felt that becoming National Board Certified would help me determine if I would like to pursue a master's degree in physical education or in another area.
What was the most difficult aspect of going through the process?
Writing the papers and using technology when videotaping. Since 3 out of the 4 components consisted of a minimum of 12 paper papers, this took many hours and revisions to complete and perfect. Throughout those essays, I ended up feeling like I needed more than 12 pages to really be able to explain my teaching. I have a family and I coach, so I found myself having to use holidays to work. I am not the best technology user, so when videotaping myself and having to figure out how to edit and upload it with sound, in a gym setting, was challenging.
What was the most rewarding part of going through the process?
The most rewarding part is I passed each component with really good scores. Which to me tells me that my teaching methods align with the National Standards for Physical Education. It is rewarding to know that I have a high level of knowledge in my content, can differentiate instruction for all students, I have a positive learning environment and teaching practice, and I am an effective and reflective practitioner. I have always taken pride in being a fitness teacher and I feel very honored to now be recognized through the National Board.
What advice would you give others that are thinking about starting the process?
My advice would be to read, re-read, and read again the component instructions packet. Each component has a lengthy booklet of requirements and rubrics and I would suggest reading it and making sure that your writing reflects what the instructions are asking.
How has this made you a better educator?
This experience has helped me to reflect on my assessments and the purpose of them. In Physical Education there are no books that provide units and assessments. Everything is teacher created. The National Board has helped me to analyze the purpose to each assessment and how impactful it will be on students learning.