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Teachers...Five Reasons to Become National Board Certified

Updated on January 14, 2013
don't let the sun set on your professional development!
don't let the sun set on your professional development!
this crab needs more color to stand out...
this crab needs more color to stand out...

National Board Certification requires an investment of time and money. It requires initiative, organizational skills, critical thinking, patience, and perseverance. You have to be willing to learn, and reshape your approach based on criticism. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Are you up for the challenge? If you are debating taking on this endeavor, here are five reasons in its favor that will hopefully help you make up your mind:

1) It is one of the best experiences in professional development available. I remember feeling slightly mournful when I passed because the learning experience was over. I know that we continue to learn as teachers, but this is a pointed learning experience that really helps you to excavate the best practices of your teaching. I've taken plenty of professional development courses where I figured out what they were looking for and complied with a portfolio. In contrast, this is genuine and worthwhile.

2) You become an expert in your field. Enjoyment of your chosen career and confidence in how you're doing it skyrocket as you work your way to becoming a true expert at what you do. The National Board portfolios are well-rounded. You cannot help but immerse yourself in the process and your job, and the time pays off. The revelation for me was that you don't have to feel like an expert teacher before you take on getting certified. It is the process that gets you were you should be as a professional.

3) The additional income. The financial incentives vary by state. Here in Hawaii it is $5,000 additional to your annual income (distributed evenly in your paychecks), plus a $5,000 bonus once a year. This has made a substantial difference in my ability to reach my financial goals. Also, many states have stipends to help you afford the process. Regardless of how much you end up paying out of your own pocket, it's an investment that pays you back within the year.

a rare find that is worth searching for...
a rare find that is worth searching for...
a higher level of accomplishment helps us achieve safe harbor!
a higher level of accomplishment helps us achieve safe harbor!

4) Students learn more. You are the scientist and the classroom is your laboratory. Your whole classroom program is rejuvenated by your experience of creating portfolios for National Board Certification. The students participate in videos and turn in work samples. Also affected are parent involvement and the roles you play to enrich your school environment. Students will continue to learn more long after you complete the process too, because you are an improved teacher.

5) You have more opportunities available to you. As a National Board Certified Teacher, new prospects open up. The principal now knows you are a “go getter,” and keeps you in mind for special projects. The National Board sometimes sends job opportunities, as well as your local school board. As far as teaching goes, the world is your oyster. If you are content where you are like I am, it still can lead to additional income or a solid emergency plan in case your life changes.

As one of the two first National Board Certified Teachers at my school, I was a little surprised by some of the staff reactions. There were people that talked negatively about the process and the fact that it took me a total of three years (one year of Take One! & two years of full candidacy). I guess that with every success there are those that will criticize. I did it as a personal challenge and the only drawback was that I did not really enjoy the public recognition or repercussions of that. My greatest hope is that my NB partner and I can serve to assist and advise those others that decide to brave the process. In the end, it was such a rewarding endeavor that I hope as many teachers decide to achieve it as possible!

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