I am a ball of nervous and excited energy, bouncing on the tips of my toes. Internal dialogue is going on in my head ranging from “Don’t be too excited. You’ll talk too fast!” to “Let your passion and excitement show. They won’t want to learn from boring people.” to “Ahhhh! I can’t believe this is finally happening” I am trying to hide it by smiling behind my mask and standing still-ish. Teachers walk into the room and set their belongings down and look at me at the front of the room.
“Welcome to our first Pre-Candidacy class!” I say.
There it is: National Board Pre-Candidacy. After a year of preparation, promotion, and recruitment I am finally teaching this class to teachers in my district. I am equally nervous and excited, but most of all hopeful that some teachers will be ready to take the plunge into National Board certification this year.
What is National Board Pre-Candidacy? Think of it like “National Board 101”. We look at what certification entails, the beliefs and knowledge that National Board Certified Teachers hold near and dear, finding your support network, and more.
Amidst all the emotions of the school year, teachers are showing up and growing as educators. I can already see teachers looking at their teaching practice with a fresh set of eyes, and this is only pre-candidacy. This type of class or professional development is different than many others; it truly causes you to think. You start thinking about your students differently and getting to know your students on a deeper level. You think about your instructional strategies and activities differently, wondering why you have chosen this activity for this group of students at this given time. Instruction is not routine each year, and instructional strategies will vary based on the group of students you have in your class at different points in the school year. You start thinking about yourself differently, too; gaining more confidence as you realize that there are more aspects of accomplished teaching that you regularly engage in than you previously thought.
I see these teachers thinking each week of pre-candidacy. I know this type of analysis and reflection is not easy, and not only because this class is after school and we are oh-so-tired. Growing is not always easy or pain-free. These “growing pains” are worth the trouble. You will be a different (read: stronger) educator because of it.
It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get a National Board Pre-Candidacy Class going, and now I can see it is paying off. Although teaching a class takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, I am not the only one who is putting forth this effort; the National Board Candidates that are in my class are putting in their own. I hope they feel it paying off for them, too.
If you are ready to take the plunge into National Board certification, click here for more information.